Holiday plans and traditions so far

My holiday plans aren’t really coming along yet, but they will be soon. We’ve been really busy at the store – lots of hustle and bustle during Christmastime! The place is so decked out with trees, lights, snowmen, Santas, holly, and hot cider, it feels like our home is already decorated, even though it’s just the store. There’s also been a lot going on with me personally/emotionally lately, so I’ve spent a lot of time at home after work just doing really monotonous but extremelytherapeutic things such as cutting words and images out of magazines to build up a stash. This means I’m probably not going to get as much done for Christmas as I wanted, or at least at the time I wanted to, but I don’t think I really mind right now.

Last night I spent an hour sitting on my couch listening to Christmas music turning those calendar pages into envelopes. I’ve been dealing with some heavy sadness for the last couple of weeks, and I have to say that particular art therapy was one of the most relaxing things I’ve done in a long time. Many of the calendars were pictures of Seattle, which I thought would makegreat RAK or Swap-return envelopes, since I live in Seattle.

We don’t have our tree quite yet, but we’re hoping to get one this weekend. We found a farm we really liked (I grew up on a tree farm, so I’m picky) last year, so we’re going back. We got what I think was a blue spruce variety (or maybe a noble?), and that darn tree was still perfectly greenand supple in February. I didn’t have the heart to throw it out when it still seemed so much alive, so we finally resorted to starving it to death and quit watering it, but even then it still took several more weeks to die. Ha! So we’re going back there again.

As far as traditions we do for Christmas, that remains to be seen. It has been hard for me to get into Christmas since I was married, because I always associated the season with things related to being in my childhood home with my family, so when I didn’t have that it didn’t feel like Christmas. So, for the last couple years we’ve been working on the transition of building our own traditions and associations, and this is the first year since we got married that I’ve really started feeling that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling. Thank God (literally)! I missed that feeling….

I did write a list of the things I’d like to do this month leading up to Christmas – some may seem silly, but here are some of them: go to a Christmas play, walk around Wights and gaze at all the eye candy (this nursery in Lynnwood, WA with a huge gift shop that is totally Christmasland), read Little Women (an annual favorite), make Christmas ATCs to hang as ornaments in our tree, make homemade hot chocolate with peppermint whipping cream, make English toffee, send out a Christmas letter (we haven’t done this yet!), attend all the candlelight advent services at church, clean my apartment so I don’t’ spend my entire vacation cleaning and organizing, and taste my first roasted chestnut.

What have I been doing in my journals lately?

What have I been up to with my journals lately? Recently, I worked in an art journal that I called my Fall Journal. Really, it was just play time in celebration of Fall, though I actually did very little writing in it. My plan is to do a mix of collages, journal writing, copied poetry and quotes, pressed leaves, even yummy autumn recipes in it. Whatever is celebratory of that season goes in the book, is just my way of experiencing my favorite time of year in another wonderful way. Like the Lent Journal, I’ve worked all over the place in it, rarely finishing a page in one sitting. Now that fall is over, I haven’t used it very much.

Also, I’m currently reading The Artist’s Way, which involves writing three pages of non-stop "stream of consciousness" writing each morning. This is basically all of the journal writing I’ve been doing for a while now. I do that in a plain boring notebook, and I hardly ever do it in the morning. In fact, I hardly ever do anything in the morning besides roll out of bed and rush to work, making sure my teeth are brushed and my socks are matched. My journaling ends up being late at night. I really would love to do some in the morning, as I think it would better prepare me for the day, but I just can’t seem to get out of bed that extra half hour earlier.

Finally, I just recently started altering one of my old date books. Since 1999 I’ve used a really nice leather-bound date book to keep track of my life, and I couldn’t ever bring myself to throw them away. Lately I’ve been feeling very depressed (for no reason really, our life is really great right now – I think its my serotonin acting up again in my brain), feeling the kind of emotions you can’t put into words, so I took down that first old date book and I’ve been altering one spread each night. So far I haven’t written much, I’ve just been giving myself some good art therapy cutting words and pictures I like out of magazines (I treated myself to cutting up a really GOOD new magazine! It felt so deliciously naughty!), painting and gluing onto the spread, and doodling. I think the theme of the book is going to be "do whatever the hell I want." (Sorry, it is unlike me to say such things, however it perfectly sums up the theme of the book). When I get like this I feel like I’m losing myself, and I over-analyze everything and start to feel like I’m going completely crazy, so being able to do whatever I want in this book really feels good and freeing. I’m giving myself permission to draw badly, say stupid things, be sappy, be angry, use colors that look terrible together – basically completely letting my hair down and not trying to impress anyone. With this particular book, so far, I’m veering away from my usual work-all-over-the-book and instead am sticking to one page or spread per day and leaving it at that.

That’s about it right now! I will work next on getting some of these photos online – still not sure how to get the pictures from the digital camera to the computer….