I love irony. The best thing about an ironic situation is the way it sneaks up on you. This Holiday season, for example, I thought it would be a good time of year to have elective surgery. That sounds like plastic surgery, but no. That’s a slippery slope I’m too chicken to attempt. I had foot surgery to repair the torn ligament in my right foot. I’d spent eight weeks earlier in the year wearing a boot to try and get the darn thing to heal on its own, but it never did. So…
We’d met our deductible, the kids were almost out of school (which meant another driver was available), and my husband would be around considering he hadn’t scheduled any travel due to his recent knee surgery. And really, there would never be a good time to be unable to drive for two weeks.
The surgery went well, I was numb for two days so I thought I’d have an easy recovery, and then WHAM! Suddenly my foot had a pulse of its own and I was in pain. My husband’s supposedly light work schedule had him running from one meeting to another, and as soon as finals were over, my son came down with some feverish virus. In a nutshell, we were a hot mess.
As I sat on the couch, working on the book about Chris Norton who lives his life in a wheelchair, the irony of the situation smacked me in the face. I’m totally blessed because my situation is temporary. I’m going to fine soon, my son will get better, and my husband won’t leave me because I’m a little bossy, impatient, and needy for a few days (right, honey?)
So I’m done whining. And if I’m a little bored sitting on the couch watching mindless TV (or endless episodes of yet another Alaska show on the Discovery channel thanks to the hubs who leaves the remote suspiciously out of reach), I’m going to suck it up and remember the reason for the season and how truly blessed I am. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all from the very blessed (if not a little irritable) Hayes Family! May your season be merry and bright 😉
Today is the first full day of Hanukkah, so the holidays are in full swing. For me, the season has always been about music: Carols when I was little. Sacred music when I sang in my high school and college choirs. (I still think Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” is the most joyful 4 minutes of music ever written.)
My favorite carol is “Little Drummer Boy,” so I was entranced when this cover by Pentatonix went viral last year:
They’ve got a new Christmas album this year, and I just love this song:
Pentatonix has a very contemporary sound, but if you’d like to hear something completely different, here’s a playlist of medieval Christmas music from Anonymous 4. This selection spans a thousand years, from the fifth century to the fifteenth. It’s a wonderful reminder of the power that holidays hold, and how they inspire us through the ages.
To me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas without the music of the season playing. What about you? What puts you in the holiday spirit?
On January 3rd, the Dutchman, the girl child, and I will board a plane and fly to Amsterdam for six months. Six months! Our daughter, a high-school sophomore, is doing her second semester at an international school there, and we are going to follow.
It’s quite possibly the worst time of the year to go to the Netherlands. The weather will be atrocious—cold and gloomy and wet—and our main mode of transportation will be a bike. Winter storms are frequent and frequently violent, and I’ve watched more than one person be blown—literally—off theirs. And because of Holland’s location just south of the North pole, the first few months of the year it’s hardly ever light. You go to work and it’s dark. You come home and it’s dark. Your vitamin-D window is only a handful of hours at best, and even then the sun is usually hidden behind a thick layer of low-hanging clouds.
Are we crazy? Probably. But it’s partly because of all those reasons that I’m so excited to go. The Dutch have a word for this season—donkere dagen, or dark days—and they “celebrate” it by holing up in their homes with roaring fires and flickering candles, good food and better friends. I don’t know about you, but after the craziness of the holiday season, that sounds like heaven to me.
And inevitably, always, after winter comes spring.