Hi! Hello there!
I kind of disappeared for a while! I really thought I would turn around and just keep right on blogging and novel-ing and trying to pass the dark days with constant activity, but it turns out that I just sort of fell face first into the Dark Days Despair that I had managed to put off all of November.
Winter in Alaska is so strange because you can simultaneously find the darkness and snow to be cozy and beautiful (I live in a snow globe!) while slowly being eaten away by it mentally. I spent the weekend eating lots of carbs, making cookies with my kid, doing Christmas shopping, watching Christmas movies, and just generally marveling at the winter wonderland. I also literally squirted tears out of my face with explosive force this morning on the way to work when a story about Sandy Hook caught me in just the perfectly wrong way. At least Sandy Hook deserves tears. I have had far shallower moments that have nearly driven me to tears in the last week. That’s….not….normal for me. The actual crying right out loud part. That’s what the darkness can do to you. I’m fine! This is totally great! What an interesting and unique and lovely place I live! SOB!
I’m fine! Like 96% totally normal and fully aware of and dealing with the other 4%. Just don’t underestimate what darkness can do to a person, you know?
We have kept pretty busy since I last checked in. I have somehow left myself 260 papers to grade all at once. Like really real papers that require edits and worthwhile feedback on their writing skills. Not just worksheets. This could be a big part of my mood.
Rosalind had a swim meet this weekend in which we had to run the swim shop. Swim is pretty intensive on the whole parental involvement thing. If we don’t volunteer enough hours throughout the season, we have to pay a substantial “volunteer” fee. We got 12 hours this weekend for working the swim shop and bringing multiple items for the concession stand. We are not quite halfway to our goal. Yeah. It’s intense.
Rosalind swam the 50 Back and Free. She shaved about three seconds off of each of her times. Her coaches also saw fit to put her in her first 100. If I had been the one to choose, I would have done the backstroke first. They put her in the Free. She finished! Without being disqualified! That’s about all that can be said for this first attempt. She was genuinely startled by how exhausted she was by the end of the third stretch. Sergio and I sold a startling amount of swim gear. I had no idea how lucrative the little folding table swim shop really is. More than a few kiddos got all the way out to North Pole only to realize they hadn’t brought a towel. Or goggles. Or a swim cap. Or a suit.
The end of a real conversation I overhead of this one poor kid as he revealed to his dad all the gear he had forgotten:
Dad: So what’s all that stuff in your swim bag?!
If I dug through one box of swimsuits looking for the right size jammers (only jammers! They would prefer to forfeit than wear the brief style! Don’t even think of holding those up in public!) then I must have dug through a hundred boxes until I just knew the inventory by memory. It was a pretty exhausting day for all of us.
Not going home for Christmas this year clearly leaves us with almost no Christmas engagements at all. I have decided to extend this to everything. I’m calling this No Party December! There have been at least four Christmas Party invitations through one avenue or another, and I am going to exactly zero of them. It’s so freeing! I highly recommend that if you are a socially anxious person that tortures yourself every year about whether it’s more fun or more stress to attend work parties, just give yourself this gift. Don’t go! On Friday night, I made carbs and watched tv with my family while my coworkers had a lovely time at the work party. I didn’t stress ahead of time, during, or afterward. Perfect. *Disclaimer: I don’t worry about parties when it is my family or close friends, so if you’re in one of those categories and are now thinking that I’m glad not to be hanging with you around the holidays this year, I’m not.
Rosalind mentions at least one thing a day that she’s bummed about missing by not going home for Christmas this year. Making cookies with Mamie and Emma was the first. We’ve made an alternate cookie plan for this year. We’re making cookies we’ve never made. We began with her request for real gingerbread men. Rosalind was mortified to learn that gingerbread cookies are made with ginger and molasses, both of which she found to smell awful before cooking (smelled amazing afterward though).
They turned out so cute. They are like biting through bricks though. I guess that’s what you get when you make a recipe that specifically says “won’t spread or swell!” Oh well.
Countdown to the Winter Solstice (and therefore the gradual return of mood stabilizing sunlight): 10 days.