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I enjoy liking things.  It someways, I like to get on likable bandwagons, but a lot of it happens out of the public eye and that doesn’t seem real bandwagon-y to me.

The enjoyment of liking things creates a cycle of anticipation and resolution that was Christmas when I was seven, payday when I was 23, and now is rooted in other things.

I enjoy liking Doctor Who, I like a lot of the component parts and even though Ten is my doctor and Amy & Rory are my companions and NONE of those folks are still on the show.  I prefer liking it to being sad that Ten is gone, or that Moffat lacks internal continuity in the universe, or that Clara and Twelve just never worked for me. I would rather be someone who likes the show, than someone who used to like the show.

I enjoy liking drum corps, I’m not filled with in depth knowledge, I don’t have people who I can gossip with about it.  I just enjoying being a casual fan of drum corps.  I sitting in the theater to watch the broadcast and get chills.  I don’t go to the shows, or volunteer because it is a hassle in GA – and still – I am a fan because there is no barrier to enter any fandom.

I love the day in February when pitchers and catchers report for spring training.  I love the Cubs.  I love going to family friendly minor league games.  I can’t name a current player.

I enjoy liking Star Wars, and I enjoyed liking this season of Star Wars.  There were cupcake wrappers and extra time on the couch.  I enjoyed the conversations about good and evil, movie making, and Jar Jar (I’m fairly Jar Jar neutral truth be told).  I enjoyed that all I needed to do was anticipate and resolve a movie weekend.

Because I enjoy liking things I think I build pleasures into my year that wouldn’t be there otherwise – I know that is what happened with Star Wars this year.  I didn’t worry about my lack of Christmas spirit because I was walking around humming a season tune.

Sing it with me now …. dun dun dun dadudun dadudun.

 

 

My dad isn’t haunting me.  I was contentedly haunted by my first husband for a long time – all of which is to say that I think haunting can happen and that my dad is not.  (happily, everyone has already made up their mind about what that says about me – so no need to have the discussion).

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But in this moment of hot chocolate drinking I saw multitudes of men with coffee cups from my life.

Dave with tea while working on a puzzle

John with cream & sugar with a dash of coffee on the computer

Dad with water, milk, sugar, ice and foldgers flakes at the kitchen table

My brother in Virginia

Jimmy, Steve, Pa at the kitchen counter pouring powered creamer and using the eternal spoon of coffee stiring from the corner of the sink

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I’m in performance mode this weekend, singing with the local volunteer symphony and chorus.  It is genuinely delightful even though I am tired.  Many of my colleagues appear to be retired and it makes me all the more content because it reminds me that my life is richer when the moments and people that I have in addition to my worklife are the stories that I will care about most.  It is a big lesson that I am focused on right now.

The focus of someone moving into their solo is a thing of beauty to watch.

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I like the world right now, even if I am a little worried about it.  I’m feeling tender hearted for my friends right now because you don’t get to be our ages without a bruise or two.  I’m especially in love with hands around a coffee cup that the holder has nearly forgotten about – a ritual safe and sound and alive.

My three favorite Christmas cookie bakers come from roughly the same generation.  I imagine each of them learning to bake at the side of someone who loved them, with a sense of community, learning the reward of being exhausted and continuing to build beautiful and delicate things.

Those women turn out baking by box.  One made my second favorite day of the year at my former place of employment -her family fills a board room table with cookies and buckeyes and lord’a’mighty – for EACH of the participants.  Cookie DAY brings the press cookies and chocolate chip cookies and that gel stuff in the plastic tubs.  The season is rounded out by just a couple delicate German cookies on Christmas day.

Grandchildren are always recruited and taught – just like I was.  Ours was a big house for frosting and sprinkles and cut out cookies.  I remember there being batches and batches coming from the oven and the kitchen table covered over in them.

I had a day like that one year.  Jeff’s grandma in-residence (my neighbor), a friend and her daughter, me and Jeff.  Making cookies together.  It was a great day and I am happy to have done it — but community is different for me than it was for my mom.

Christmas is different too, and every year we feel our way through what is right for us right now.  During LLV we put whatever we though was pretty on the tree because we hadn’t brought ornaments.  Last year my husband did all of the decorating because he saw that I was too sad from my dad’s death to muster decorating and he understood that I was still going to need it to be there.  This year we have a potted live tree on the table  – our traditions won’t settle.

It was 60 degrees outside today with a brilliant blue sky and I knew that it was the night to make cookies.  I had half a tub of frosting from the Star Wars cupcakes so I stopped at the store for mix and sprinkles.  It wasn’t community.  It wasn’t a table full of cookies.  It wasn’t buckeyes or press cookies or the ones with powered sugar.  It was compiled instead of homemade.

It is 13 (well, 11 now) cookies.  One has suspenders, one is an homage to Doctor Who and Vincent and the Doctor.  I don’t know what Jeff will remember even though I realize he is of an age where he will remember now.   I’m not sure it matters.

Carry forth the traditions you love in the ways that you can.