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Sugartown December 31, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Today I woke up feeling kind of depressed. This often happens to me on Sundays, probably because the weekend is almost over, and I never get everything finished on a weekend that I should, be it chores or sufficient fun. So instead of jumping right into my Sunday to finish unfinished business, I brood a bit. It’s not so healthy.

Today, the last day of the year (a Thursday) definitely has the potential to feel like a big fat Sunday.

It shouldn’t. I am well aware that I am a happy person who loves where I live and has the most wonderful friends and neighbors around me. I may be more aware of it than ever. But 2009 has been tough in a lot of ways. I’ve been to a lot of funerals. People are dying, marriages are breaking up. There’s been plenty of pain to go around.

After getting through this morning’s e-mail, I fried some bacon, prepping for tonight’s contribution to the raucous New Year’s Eve party we’re attending. That’s as far as I’ve sous-cheffed the dish—Tim’s stepping in and taking care of the rest. I got myself to the gym, which was wonderfully crowded. I almost snuck into yoga class (I haven’t paid for yoga, so I would have had to sneak in or pull out some cash). But really, I needed that elevated-heart-rate workout to fight the depression. It was good. I think it helped.

I ran into a friend on the way out. She’ll be at the party tonight too. We began discussing the amount of holiday sugar in our lives and how our diets of late have made us feel, well, not too good physically (psychologically is a whole other issue, of course). She told me she caught herself pulling a particular cookie out this morning because she found it to be a good “morning cookie.” That she had begun to categorize cookies into best-time-of-day-to-eat was of concern to her. (I delight in both the fabulousness and horror of it!)

Last night I took as much of the sugar as I could—cookies, brownies, candy—and put it in storage bins that I hope to hide on a high shelf in the mudroom. The stuff has been falling out of my cupboards, there is so much of it. And reader, I don’t bake!

I am very appreciative of these wonderful gifts, but there is enough sugar here to last me a few months—and I should make it last those few months. I have arrived at the stage in which I both recognize the addiction and can see that it’s making me sick.

So tonight, it’s off to the New Year’s Eve party and the ritual burning of Sugartown (see last year’s description). Not only am I excited to see my friends and neighbors and ring in 2010 in this unusual way, but I hope that on some level it will be a rite of passage: a journey into a world of sugar moderation.

I got some troubles but they won’t last
I’m gonna lay right down here in the grass
And pretty soon all my troubles will pass
’cause I burned shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo
Shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugartown

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Dear Friends December 24, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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I am thinking of you. May you be enjoying a sweet solsticey time o’year.

The News December 15, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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My alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. The BBC’s World Update is on. I doze in and out of consciousness as Dan Damon confronts this and that person. When the accents decidedly shift to American at 6 a.m. with NPR’s Morning Edition, I can no longer put off the inevitable. I get up.

Coffee, soy/fruit shake, e-mail, and the New York Times online. The early-morning ritual. I scan the headlines, skim some articles. Often, the headlines are enough to make one wonder why one keeps getting up.

Among today’s:

China and U.S. Hit Strident Impasse at Climate Talks
Poll Reveals Depth and Trauma of Joblessness in U.S.
Rebuffing U.S., Pakistan Balks at Crackdown
Suicide Bomb Blast Near Hotel in Kabul

I have friends who deliberately take breaks from the news in an effort to ward off depression. In a sense, I make an effort to protect myself too, as I don’t tend to let myself get too deeply into the issues, and I don’t watch TV news. But I feel it’s my civic duty to keep a little bit informed—thus, the radio, the scanned headlines. And it’s amazing how much one hears, regardless, going about one’s day—on the Internet, in the grocery store line, through one’s adoration of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

Reading this morning’s headlines, though, and feeling my tension and depression mounting, I was reminded of a newspaper clipping that I kept on my refrigerator for years (and which I was able to dig out of a file this morning to share with you). It was a single column of announcements (“Lake Regions Briefs”) in the free paper. A search for when July 19 was a Friday and August 4 a Sunday leads me to believe that this appeared in 2002. The juxtaposition of the headlines thrilled me:

Vacation Bible School Slated
Goddess Talk Held in Pawlet
Republicans Plan Barbecue
Folksinger to Play on Green

We are all sorts of people here, all trying to find our own ways to be happy.

Valley Drive December 14, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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late-afternoon light
turns the mountains winter pink
halfway down dark blue

Saturday Shift December 7, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Then suddenly, and at long last, winter arrived.

We got up early to drop Tim’s car at the mechanic’s. We’d never put snow tires on so late in the season.

We went to the dump (I mean transfer station). We did some last-minute grocery shopping for our dinner party.

We got a Christmas tree.

We did not really have time to—in true Vermont style—cut our own. We stopped at the general store, and I found a tree I liked, but Tim was set on a balsam, and I couldn’t blame him. Smell trumps all.

So we went to a nursery, where a tree would be significantly more expensive (and was), and found the perfect balsam for us.

We put it in the living room and got out the long-stored lights to string ’round it. There were issues. Another trip to town was made.

We hardly ever have a tree. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, we are often traveling over the holidays. If we are not going to be home for Christmas, we do not get a tree.

I haven’t been home for Christmas in three years. Did I get a tree three years ago? Maybe. But maybe not. Probably. But maybe it was five years ago.

Sometimes I just get out my wire ornament-trees and hang my animal ornaments on them. Sometimes I don’t bother with that.

This year, we are home for Christmas. Real tree.

Second, I have historically had issues with the whole cutting-down-a-tree-and-sticking-it-in-your-living-room-for-several-weeks thing. I’ve worried about killing something meant to live outside. It took me a while to understand the crop aspect of this industry. It helps that trees are biodegradable.

It smells fantastic.

We picked up the newly snow-tired car. By late afternoon, it was snowing.

It was a wet snow, and not too much. But I think a lot of us Vermonters felt a collective catharsis, a relief of some sort. Such a late first valley-snow.

Our guests arrived with red-cheeked smiles. When I hugged them, they smelled like winter.

I have been feeling a lot of anxiety lately. An odd sort of malaise. I have been tasking like crazy, which is like me, but it feels like it’s been taking over my life. I have been experiencing aches and pains and have been obsessing about death more than usual. This morning, reading Bridgett’s advent blog, I was struck by her phrase “due to the gathering darkness.” My mind and body react to this darkness. I can feel solstice rapidly approaching. I love the idea of solstice. But I need the idea of turning back to the light.

Meanwhile, the brightness of snow may lighten our days and nights. Yesterday, Tim and I took an hour’s walk in the snow and bright sun. Being out there was long overdue. Soon, if we’re lucky, we’ll be skiing the same walk.

And at night, I can plug in my white lights and smell the balsam.