Okay, campers, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cold out there today!

Well, it’s December 1st. So how about that November, eh? I half expected to wakeup this morning and have it be November 1st again, and we’d get to Groundhog Day the whole month until we got it right. What a piece of nightmarish grace that would be, eh?

Mostly, I am trying to hold still, breathe, listen and pay attention to the things that actually matter, and not the twittery, shiny-bits meant to distract thoughtful folks from anything meaningful. Like so many Americans, I am trying to figure out what the new temperature is, and even though it’s not a season I chose or wanted, I can adjust, I can raise my voice, I can disallow my own silence, I can examine my dis/comfort (both of which are revealing).

We’ve had some good talks with the kids about our Republic, about the democratic process, the vital importance of voting, rule of law, and fact-checking. We’ve circled around to revisit well-known topics like bullying, standing up for one’s beliefs, being respectful to those who are different, but being courageous when called upon to stand. The biggest change is our complacency. I am guilty being certain in the arc of justice, and of not doing my part assure that truth. We are now actively seeking ways to volunteer in our community, to be involved, not just as a nice thing to say or at the holidays, but in a for-reals, boots-on-the-ground way. I don’t know yet where those steps will take us, but I’m doing it anyway.

I’m going to circle back around to a position of trying to say “yes” more often to experiences in my life. It’s so easy to allow gravity to do its work, keeping us in place. Even for things that would be enjoyable- but I remind myself, I am *always* glad when I break my own gravity and say yes to something new.

So for December, aside from living a sort-of normal life and enjoying the holidays, I’m going to pick back up on the memoir writing challenge, I’m going to write about New Orleans and New York City, where I have become enchanted, like so many better writers before me. I’m dialing back on physical Christmas gifts, and focusing on experiences and *doing* rather than *stuff*.

Some bullet points for my posterity on the last few weeks, and notes for forthcoming posts:

  • We should have know the Cubs winning the World Series would usher in Biff.
  • We started out the month in New York City, where we met Jon’s sister and her husband, and took the kids for the first time. We geeked out at Hamilton (didn’t get in, of course), visited Trinity Church, the Battery, and the NYPL. We walked nearly 30 miles in three days, ate cheap street pizza, rode the Staten Island Ferry, rode the subway, ate more cheap street pizza, watched the skaters at 30 Rock, waited in line for a ridiculous pastrami sandwich of Jeffrey’s dreams, and introduced the world to Bean’s Party Suit. It was magnificent, and we can’t wait to make it a family tradition.
  • The night before the election, we watched a film on women’s suffrage, and the girls wore white and accompanied me to vote. Regardless of the outcome, this was an outstanding lesson in civic duty and history.
  • I’m proud of the artists and poets and creative ones who are finding ways to use their art—as ever—to make the world safer, brighter, and better. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
  • I started stress-knitting after the election, and I think I have 30 socks now. Upside, right? Stress knitting > stress eating, at the very least.
  • The dog… oh how the dog has been loved this month. Everyone wants him to lay on their feet, and he follows me from room to room. I never expected to love him so much.
  • Birthdays were celebrated by my dad, my brother, Auntie Heather, and my adorable niece- and there was a colossal birthday cake debacle, of which there are pictures.
  • Penzey’s Spices, already my culinary accompaniment of choice, further solidified their bonafides in my kitchen. I will be loyal forever.
  • For Thanksgiving we were overflowing with family, and it was wonderful.
  • All twelves of us went to see Moana, and I cried at least three times, and will write down my complicated thoughts at some point. But L-MM’s voice though… seriously.
  • Christmas Tree Day was honored and the halls were decked- it was chaos, and I had a mea culpa moment with Jon, after I insisted on a life tree, then chose poorly. Have to put up a Christmas tree on day, only to take it down a day later and replace it with another? I have!
  • To wrap the month, and in keeping with our quest for experience over stuff, we used airline miles for me to accompany Jon on a work trip to New Orleans. It’s been on my list for decades, literally, and I have been walking the streets in amazement. I shall return and report shortly.