It’s December. Try To Be Happy Anyway.

Welcome to December! If you’re in the US, that means hearing “Santa Baby” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” at the supermarket while you’re trying to buy bok choy and considering the merits of Oreos vs Grasshoppers (buy both). It also means hearing the Christmas Nuts screaming about the audacity of Other Holidays being celebrated in preference to Our Lord’s Birthday Party (aka The War on Christmas) because America is now the land of the free-ish and home of the paranoid. Ah, for Christmas past, when my all my relatives would get drunk and take my allowance off me at poker (on the up side, I was damn good at poker by the time I was twelve). Or last year, when Melania Trump did the weirdest decorated White House in history (remember that creepy red forest? Evocative of both The Handmaid’s Tale and menstruation). Sigh.

OTOH, I just bought myself a fuck-ton of yarn for Christmas, and that makes me deliriously happy.

What made you happy this week? (Besides the Drifters, I mean.)

63 thoughts on “It’s December. Try To Be Happy Anyway.

  1. A lot to be happy about this week,
    so this is long! Visit to in-laws for Thanksgiving holidays went well and we’re going home today. Yay!

    We had a family (just myself, husband, and kids) ice skating trip at a nice, big, cheap (4 dollars to rent skates and unlimited ice time!) ice rink. Both boys had a good time and skated well which made them happy. I wobbled around like I do every year, but still had a blast.

    Ice skating is something I didn’t learn till I was an adult, don’t really do super well at and yet oddly have a blast doing. That’s very unusual for me, especially with anything remotely athletic. I decided that this is the year I really truly am asking for ice skates.

    We also had an evening that was just the “grownup cousins” and it was really fun. When my husband and I first started dating (a million years ago), his cousins were all tweens/teens and it’s been wonderful to see them grow into accomplished young women who are all very different from each other but lovely in their own ways. I was a little concerned because we’re such an eclectic group with the main bond being family rather than common interests, but there was lots of good beer and wine and we played the excellent party game Chameleon. I’d never played it before, but it was a lot of fun.

  2. Georgette Heyer cheered me up when I was too poorly to do more than read a few paragraphs at a time. (Couldn’t cope with watching TV for the first two or three days.) Then sunshine on Friday, and today. And taking good care of myself. Oh, and the double white amaryllis my nephew gave me last Christmas, which is flowering again.

  3. I started off the week with the flu which wasn’t fun. However, I felt well enough by the end of the second day to plant my amaryllis bulbs. I have potted 5 in various colours and we’ll see how many of them are ready by Christmas. I will give some away as gifts and enjoy the rest (even if they bloom in Jan or Feb). I made a double batch of shortbread dough and it’s in the freezer. Making more dough today. Finished off the week spending a morning with a friend checking out local Christmas craft fairs. It’s our tradition and a lovely way to spend a few hours together. Long chilly walk with my puppy this am – lots of happy.

  4. Geez, I’ve been sick too, which is exceedingly unusual for me. It didn’t get bad until Thursday night though, and I am happy to have had the extra day off to lie around on Friday and recover. AND I got the Turkey Soup made before I went under.

    Even more happily, everyone had a wonderful time Thanksgiving, and said so repeatedly! Even the person who threatened not to come earlier in the week. I mean, there were only 9 of us, most of whom actually like each other, so it doesn’t SOUND like a challenge, but some of us are related…….anyway, it was a lovely day with great food. And leftovers.

  5. My big happy this week was when I saw my kittens’ feral mother on my deck. I hadn’t seen her since sometime in the spring and assumed the worst. But she’s still alive and well! I think she’s been visiting regularly, but at a time when I’m not likely to look on my deck (where the feral food is — there’s another feral who visits and is seen daily).

    And if anyone’s wondering, yes, the momcat has been spayed. Ditto for the other visiting (female) feral. There are a couple tomcats in the area, but I only see them once every few months, since there aren’t any intact females in my yard, which makes it virtually impossible to trap (neuter-return) them.

  6. We had a lovely thanksgiving with two neighbor families —DH was in India so we are doing it again today with him and his brother and his permanent fiancée. We also had our fifth annual reunion of DS high school friends and that was lovely.

    It’s funny, our daughter had a more active HS social life but it’s our son whose friends are staying in touch better .

      1. When my daughter was 14 they got engaged and asked her to be a bridesmaid. My daughter is now 28. The PF wears my mother in laws engagement ring and they happily live together but show no signs of actual marriage. For years they looked at wedding venues but I think they have stopped. Tbey just always seem to have something better to do than plan a wedding plus I think there is some perfectionism stopping them.

  7. Jenny, how often do you have to get the macular degeneration needles? One of my friends possibly has it and was wondering.

    1. It’s different every time. It can be months. Also, if you get a good doc, it doesn’t hurt at all. I was amazed. Very easy. Tell him/her not to worry.

      1. I will, thanks. She is a lot freaked out by the idea and I thought it would be good to ask someone who actually goes through it.

  8. Working hard on the happies in the midst of a divorce, packing every damn thing I own and moving 300 miles away in january. Change is good, right?
    Happy to be moving to within 30 mins of long time best friend. Happy to be able to remotely do my well paying job.
    Happy I have Christmas gifting well in hand.
    Grateful that I’m healthy except for aches and pains sort of stuff.
    And very happy to read Argh Ink every day!

    1. I had a good Thanksgiving visit in CA with both my eldest and youngest sisters, my elder sister’s husband and her daughter and grandson. I made it home safe and sound just before the storm hit; in fact it started as I was a couple hundred feet from my driveway. My cats were happy to see me and one is waiting for me to settle down so he can sit in my lap.

  9. Being in a cheesy Christmas/Hanukkah play is fun, even if I don’t do much in it. I’m amused as heck. Been busy doing that, as we’re now halfway through the run.

    I have decided to basically surrender on the crush issue: either he does go for me someday or he doesn’t, you know? Nothing I can do about it, and since I doubt I’ll see him much for the rest of winter after the cast party is over, that’s the time to start dialing it back. I have been playing it cool and not talking to him a whole lot. Literally, everyone is shipping him and his love interest in the play…sigh. Well, at least their kiss scenes don’t sound fun since it sounds like a lot of crashing and teeth banging every time and then they go on about
    “we crashed again and there’s all this lipstick” when they go back into the green room.

    However, I have been getting a lot of synchronicity stuff on the topic that has just been crazy. Like one night when I was driving home, all annoyed as shit, I got out to get gas and found a heart clothing tag there. Like he has a rare, uncommon last name and I came across someone with that last name (no relation) on YouTube and then the last few days, I’m seeing that dude with the last name again in ads. Like I see hearts freaking everywhere (over 50 yesterday) and romantic license plates. It’s bizarre.

    So…I still suspect it’ll happen sometime. Dunno when or how since things don’t seem to be really going in that direction during this play like I hoped, and I got this “wait until winter (or at least the weather changes)” message. Well, now it’s winter here and the weather changed, so… I dunno. I guess we shall see.

    Anyway, being in a play and crazy synchronicities makes me happy, or at least hopeful.

  10. I didn’t do a damn thing yesterday. I had less the 2000 steps in my fit bit. I watched a documentary on the Sherman brothers, read a book by Julie Andrews and surfed the web for articles on prince andrew. It was glorious. It was like being sick, but I wasn’t. Today the halls are getting decked,the holly is getting hauled and the bells will ring ting a tingle but yesterday was awesome.

  11. I quite like December — lots of good stuff happens and see lots of family I don’t always get to see.

    Plus, this year two shows I’ve been looking forward to are back with new seasons: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Lâcher Prise (French show some here may know). Both picking up on interesting storylines been curious about how writers will handle. So, yup, some December happy coming:)

    1. I absolutely love the costuming on Mrs. Maisel and I remember my first grown up hair style The Bubble. Along with stockings without seams. And wearing hats to church. So late fifties early sixties. So young.

      1. So agree re costumes. The set design is also fab. Love seeing familiar appliances, dishware, and gadgets in kitchens. The crew does a fab job on period detail on that show. Love the rich colours. And the dad’s “exercise” getup for his workout on the dock in the summer vacay shows was a hoot.

  12. So I finished the anime series “Maid-sama” on Netflix, and it’s pretty interesting from a romance genre perspective, as a look into what was a popular romance fantasy for teenage girls in 2010.
    There’s a very feisty high school heroine protagonist, with a chip on her shoulder against the sloppiness of her male classmates. Her love interest is pure constructed fantasy, a figure of hypercompetence without goals outside of hanging around the heroine, though the expression of that varies from trolling her for his own amusement, to doing everything in his hypercompetent power to help her achieve her own goals. It’s quite the contrast from the “she needs to fix him” bad boy model.

    Of course, it is an anime from 2010, so there are outdated elements, but seeing that kind of time capsule is interesting too. Unfortunately, there is some very outdated humor around cross-dressing, but more in an ignorant than malicious way (they assume that it’s wacky and bizarre, but in the long run don’t condemn the characters doing it). More relevant to the romance genre, though, is how the show runs a very fine line with the heroine’s awareness (or lack of) with regards to her own feelings. Ultimately, one gets the impression that she does know, but feels that she has to protest too much, for both personal and social reasons. So a major part of the romance fantasy of the show is kind of a “Baby It’s Cold Outside” model, where one of the things that makes the love interest worthy is that he knows when to challenge the heroine’s boundaries, because he knows when she’s overcompensated in putting them up.

    It’s a fantasy about the guy doing all of the emotional labor in the relationship, having a romance partner who will not only catch you when things go wrong, but stop things from going wrong in the first place when you didn’t even realize your were going wrong.

    Obviously, this kind of model has resulted in patronizing heroes in other stories, but I think that Maid-sama does a good job of the hero recognizing the heroine’s own competence, and his challenges more about helping her realize even more of that self-competence. Wrist grabs and such are mediated by how bull-headed and oblivious the heroine is, in that both parties recognize that the heroine can (and often does) easily break out of any holds, denying any power to the act.

    Within the anime industry context, Maid-sama is like an inversion of class and gender to 2006 show Ouran High School Host Club (also on Netflix), which is a whole other set of time capsule looks into various romantic fantasies.

    If you don’t mind your romcoms with more high-paced comedy, focused on teenagers, it might be worth checking out a few episodes of either show. (The English dub for Ouran is fine, but it’s a little unpleasant for Maid-sama. The original Japanese audio is available for both shows.)

  13. Happy I was able to find Lord Peter Wimsey Investigates: Selected Short Stories at the Book Depository, UK. My gift from Santa for under the tree. Should be here soon.

    Bought the greenery for the planter and putting up lights today.

  14. At my house there is just enough turkey left for one sandwich. One slice each of dessert pie and cake to finish and it will be done. On to Christmas and hauling the decorations out of hiding/storage. I know where they are I just have to get up and get them. Today though it is so dreary and cold because we are anticipating our first possible snowstorm of the season. This year I’m doing most of my holiday shopping on line. I especially like when free shipping is included. I agree with the creepy red forest assessment and think it would have frightened small children.

  15. Saw my friend for her 10th wedding anniversary party, tin is a challenge, gave her a tin of panettone and a bottle of wine. She’s a lovely lady who makes friends everywhere. We first bonded in our joint quest to hunt for the food at an engagement party.

    Also needed a challenge, so bought some variegated yarn and trying to crochet a shawl. I don’t know how to crochet. I have scrapped many attempts today, but I am getting better, it looks like a triangle now.

  16. I had two of the longest days I’ve had in months!! And it was very rewarding. Yesterday I went for a mixed media art workshop, which was incredibly interesting. Then, in the evening I went for a dance schools end-of-year showcase.

    Today I was any an alternative pop-up shop and met new interesting people. Thereafter I went for a brilliant dance show.

    I also finally managed to do Day one of Yoga With Adriene and I hope to stick to it by walking up early for yoga.

    This all had made me feel like the most ME that I’ve been, in years.

    1. I’ve spent the past week in bed (not sick) with my laptop and dogs. You have all my admiration.

    2. Well, it’s Summer here. After a few Spring cloudy days and climate-change induced rains, it’s finally sunny. And I am trying to feel better after taking a few emotional hits.

      It’s also hot, at 32° Celcius, which I love. I get bitten by mosquitos a lot and I figure it’s a small price to pay for sunny days.

  17. I had a gloriously hedonistic week. I went to visit my sister and brother-in-law and we did jigsaw puzzles, went to movies, ate out, lchatted with other family and had a fabulous time. none of us cooked. We had Thanksgiving dinner at my stepdaughter’s and saw the rest of the family. Saw my wasband’s new house which is amazing. He and his wife Jo have done a wonderful job. Jo is the best thing that could have happened to Barry.
    I am back in California now Penn. Next week I have to give two gingerbread parties and a baby shower. I should probably decorate. But since I still am one-handed somebody else is going to have to do it. Happy holidays everybody. Please don’t forget yourself when you’re wrapping gifts.

  18. There are Things Which Cause Me To Wear A Silly Grin, which may not substitute for happiness, but are a darn good start. Take this quote:

    Thoughtful consideration has led me to decide that romance, involving as it does the highly complex interaction of human neurochemisty{sic} with cultural and technological factors, is hard SF. Very hard SF because romance is especially difficult to mentally simulate accurately, not easy-peasy like rocket science. Romance as hard SF may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the counterintuitive results of modeling that are often the most interesting outcomes.
    James Nicoll, review of Don’t Fear the Reaper, by Zen Cho, 2016

    There is also this James Nicoll quote, dating back to 1990:

    “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

    The dotter informs me that the Lonova Laptop Confuser that Eldest Grandson asked for is not the one he actually wants, and can we return it/exchange it? I can only grin because this was why I purchased it at Best Buy. As it is EG’s combined birthday and Christmas present, I am only too happy to accommodate.

    Then there is wearing the silly grin (and nothing else) as I water my micro-forest, which is now a nano-forest, down to just three plants. I know that naked gardening day comes only once a year, but the weekly watering tickles me no end, done in the nuddy like a Pratchett character. Aside, plant number four, despite sending healthy horizontal runners all over the place, annoyed me. I held it over the trash can to pluck the many brown leaves out, and… oops. Yes-yes, I could have rescued it even then, but there was this silly grin, see…

    Lastly, there was my Christmas tree at work, surrounded by chocolate candies (many fewer than it started with), and it turns out that the office has been invaded by mice, who also enjoy a nibble or two of Ghirardelli, though not Russell Stover Sugar Free. And now there are poison traps and sticky traps as well as candy. Merry Christmas!

    1. Practically everything James Nicoll says makes me laugh.

      (And let the plants know who’s in charge.)

      1. (Shhh. The plants all know who is in charge. I am grateful they haven’t figured out how to rat me out to the dotter. If she sees the empty space on the window sill…)

  19. I had a quiet Thanksgiving with my friend/artist/occasional cat sitter, who is in town for a week to do her stint at the shop (all the artists have to put in a few hours a month, and more in December because busier). Made mini-turkeys (Cornish game hens) and little roasted potatoes out of my garden, and a bunch of other yummy stuff.

    Then had two longer-than-usual and busier-than-usual days working at the artists’ cooperative shop I run. Our Black Friday and Small Business Saturday were reasonably busy and successful, for which I am both happy and very grateful. (It has been a really rough year for retail.) Resting today and putting around with things that need to be done. Actually slept last night too, which was something of a miracle.

    So far the massive storm we were expecting has been mostly sleet and freezing rain instead of snow (horrible if you have to be out in it, but not bad inside). Hoping I don’t wake up to the foot plus of snow they predicted. I’ll be very happy without it.

  20. My happies are that I had a weekend of getting stuff sorted – and I was only talking to people who were giving me coffee and food… It was a nice relaxing weekend after a long week.

    I’m still in the mode of getting habits organised now rather than when the new job starts so that every thing is set and forget, (finances, eating, cleaning, exercise etc) then I won’t have the usual fights with myself about what I will and won’t do/ have. I don’t want to waste energy on it, because I doubt I’ll have any, and that usually leads to some really bad habits.

    I’ve only got a couple of things to do and finances will be set and forget – yay – I chopped up a credit card on the weekend with no concerns, usually I don’t because I panic about not having enough stashed away for an emergency, so it was nice that it was so easy.

    Eating habits aren’t too far off being set and forget as well.
    Same for cleaning habits
    Exercise, well, that’s taking a little longer 🙂

  21. Happy for my Medicare starting today. Hooray for socialized medicine. Should be saving about $200/month on medical insurance.

    Waiting out the big winter storm. I walked Tantaka at 7:30am but she won’t get walked tomorrow. Jazzy hasn’t had an accident in the house for 5-6 days now. I wish I could say he gets ‘potty outside’ but it may be just my being vigilant. We’ll see.

    Made some pizza dough for calzones. Today’s was ok; I need less onions and more cheese and perhaps olives. We’ll see how tomorow’s comes out.

    I am dialing down the decorating for the holidays this year. I’m just not in the mood I’ve put enough stuff outside to reassure the neighbors that I know it’s the holidays.

  22. We had a good and lazy Thanksgiving weekend. We went to my husband’s late wife’s family dinner. Then we cooked another smaller dinner at home so we could have Turkey sandwichs.

  23. A very small cherry pie and the chance to visit some friends and family soon. It was good to set my daughter at Thanksgiving.

    I know about Oreos, but I just had to Google Grasshoppers. My word, those look yummy.

          1. The youngest grandkinder are now scouts, one Cub and one Brownie. “I can hardly wait,” I say facetiously, “until she brings me an order form and big eyes, trembling lips, and her mother’s attitude.” “What attitude?” you ask. When asked once if she thought I was made of money, she replied, “Uh-huh… and love.”

            I used to arrange to donate the cookies to a kindergarten class in Alaska. I wonder if that can still be done. Maybe to the teachers’ lounge, liability laws being what they are.

  24. I delivered cookies today which always makes me happy. They are in lieu of a birthday cake for my friend Dave and were only 2 weeks late. Since he works all day, every day for the next 6 weeks, the timing for delivery doesn’t really matter. And even now that my baking isn’t up to my usual standards, the erratic output still brings smiles. And it makes me happy to do it for Dave, who has been such a delightful friend for the last 20-25 years.

  25. Getting my new house ready for the movers to come on Thursday has been a very happy way to spend the holiday weekend; however, it has also been exhausting. Husband and I got the dining room painted today and I cleaned all three bathrooms on my hands and knees (I don’t recommend that method) and cleaned the light fixtures… now all I want to do is sit like a vegetable. But a happy vegetable. 😉

  26. Had a really pleasant and fun Thanksgiving. I drove down to the Cape (Cod) with the parents, my nephew and his lovely wife and one-year-0ld baby girl came and she was in party mood so we had all kinds of fun. Excellent pie (3 kinds), excellent everything.
    Drove back up to Maine on Friday evening. I started the “Messiah” recording as we started, and it finished just five minutes before we drove into the yard. Driving in the dark with good music on, a very specific pleasure.

    1. I generally play the Messiah on the Friday after Thanksgiving and do my Christmas cards, ready to send, but that didn’t get on that day this year. Soon though!

  27. Had a lovely Thanksgiving – restaurant dinner with DH, then over to friends’ for dessert and frivolity, which worked out well all the way around. Then I kind of did nothing on Friday – which was great after being on the go for the last 6 weeks or so, and moving into what’s going to be a very busy December.

    I’m happy we took 10 boxes of books to Goodwill today – I’m picturing them giving others as much pleasure as they’ve given us, which eases the sting of their departure some. Still way more to go there…

    Also happy I started decorating for Christmas, although the section of the garage in which they reside leaves a little to be desired, organizationally speaking. There was some re-arranging of boxes, with more to come as I dig out everything else I want to put out.

    And finally, I’m happy that my first “official” Christmas carol (other than the Drifters) was Stiff Little Fingers’ White Christmas. Put me in the mood….

  28. My happy this week was spending Friday with Grown Son. We had pancakes, watched movies, decided that this year will be a “stocking stuffers only” xmas, took the dog out for a walk around the neighborhood, and went out between rain-showers to get an Xmas tree (as per tradition, bought the first tree we saw). It was a wonderful day.

  29. December for me means sunshine, warmth and everything flowering. And a rush for most of the month, culminating in a relaxing week at a festival that I help run over the New Year. I like December, though the rush can be stressful.

    This weekend we had 18 people over for a potluck lunch on Saturday, which was lovely. I was wiped out from that on Sunday and decided to go for just a short loop walk up a hill with a friend. Got to the first junction, decided to go a bit further. Got to the second junction, decided to go a bit further. Ended up climbing all 400m to the top of the hill and walking for 3.5 hours total. Great views and very satisfying.

  30. Like Maine Betty, I had a happy drive in the dark, after Thanksgiving dinner: husband at the wheel, adult son in the back. I said I was just going to rest my eyes and they should keep talking. The lovely rumble of their voices lulled me into a most excellent nap.

  31. My big happy this week was learning that one of my BFFs and her writing partner have a contract to write 2, possibly 4 gardening books over the next 2 years. I am beyond thrilled for them. Beyond. She told me she would give me copies but I told her I was also going to buy some because I know that the publishing world runs on sales, not gifted author copies.

  32. Sunday dinner with dotter transformed into Monday Lunch at Outback, without turning into a plane, crane or automobile in the interim. Dotter had a big sirloin and grilled shrimp with salad, cheesy broccoli, and a big side of menstrual cramps. I had a center cut pork chop (aka “Pork Porterhouse”), fries, and a plate of Shut the Hell Up and Buy Me Chocolate. 🙂

    EG’s laptop went back in exchange for a Samsung Chromebook – bigger, better, faster and smarter than my Acer Chromebook, and EG is very, very happy.We picked up dinner at Micky D’s and still beat the bus back home. All the kids were happy with double cheeseburgers and fries and crampy girl didn’t have to cook. Several ibuprofen and some of my chocolate stash (sugar free) later, she’s much happier, too.

    Happy “December’s Nearly Over – Just Twenty-nine Days To Go.”

  33. I saw this just after I saw a photo of THIS year’s White House decorations. Last year’s decorations apparently bled to death.

  34. I acquired 2 new 7-foot bookcases yesterday for my living room, and a 6-foot one for my son’s room (which will become my office when he moves out, whenever that is). And a new entertainment center for the living room as well. So my newish place is looking more like a home, and ready to be decorated for the holidays.

    I’m happy to have confirmation that, after a painful marriage that lasted way too long, I’m still able to recognize attraction and interest and caring in someone who feels the same way. It didn’t work out, but it’s still progress. And I feel more alive than I have in years.

  35. My December got off to a great start on Nov 23, when I went with the husband and our four closest friends to Cicada, a historic Art Deco restaurant in downtown L.A., to see The Jive Aces (swing band from England), do a little dancing, and otherwise celebrate the husband’s 60th. We got to dance in front of Len Goodman from ‘Dancing with the Stars’!!

    Since then there was Thanksgiving dinner, calmly and casually at home in front of the TV (‘Ballet Now’ and ’42nd Street’) with two of those same friends, and the other three days of my 4-day weekend in which I did not leave our property at all and got a ton of writing/publishing work done.

    30th novella is complete. 27th novella has been published. If designer comes through, I have a new novel to publish this month. Plus I have something new to publish in Jan, Feb, March, April, May, and June 2020. Plus each of the past two months I have seen highest-ever royalty payments.

    And to cap it all, nothing about my new job sucks, I’m almost to my 90-day review, and got a note today from one of the attorneys I support thanking me for being proactive and on-top-of-things.

  36. Dance and the use of the term ‘fuck-ton’. I love that term. It’s right up there with ass-hat, except I never use ass-hat, and I use fuck-ton all the time (usually in relation to work).

    Also, being involved with this project. There are 63 Maui Dolphins left in the world – feel free to donate to help save them – or not, there are not shortage of causes to donate to, we can’t all do everything.

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