* I had to know I was doomed last night when I was sitting there at the kitchen table, all relaxed, painting faces on my okra Santas (how cute are these?) (note to self: grow even MORE okra next year). One week before everything needs to be in the mail for the holidays, and I’m spending an entire evening painting faces on okra? “This is the last thing I have time for,” I even said out loud, but then, channeling some yogi friends of mine, replied to myself (isn’t talking to yourself out loud a sign of concern?), “It’s exactly what you should be doing right now. Being fully present in the Now. Enjoying and honoring nature’s gifts.” (See more about the okra Santas at Time for Hobbies and home Efficiency (in More Ways Than One).
* Yeah, yeah, fast forward to this morning, when I had the oven and stove going with what I should have made last night, when my younger daughter couldn’t find any of her jeans anywhere in the house (“Not my problem!” I believe I said, the Playful Parent disappearing by the moment) and my older daughter announced she needed to leave earlier than usual, setting off a chain reaction that can only be described now, after the dust has settled, as not good. (And by the way, the jeans did not look like the ones pictured, from Real Simple’s blog, when they were finally found.) I was about to post a status update on Facebook that said something about finally having the working mom/volunteer/parent/house with broken things/gifts not yet bought holiday breakdown when I realized, “How about I not post that and do something about those problems instead? ” (And yes, I spoke to myself out loud again.)
* Well, okay, so here we go. Stop #1. The chimney sweep. How long do I intend to put this off? It is expected to be down in the 20s during the next week. We like a nice fire. And, um, need I mention that Santa is coming? Remember when the chimney sweep company called me in July and asked if I wanted it cleaned for half price so I’d be ready when it got cold, and I said no? Note to self: don’t do that again next year. (Photo from a chimney sweep company that is, unfortunately, not in my city.) (See Stay Toasty at Home for other stay-warm tips.)
* Gifts–okay, pat yourself on the back for finishing the Santas. Now get gift cards and pack them all up really attractively and send them out. This will take three hours tops. Get the stuff today on the way home. Package it all on Sunday. Mail it on the way to or from somewhere else by next Wednesday. (See shipping advice from UPS here. I used to work at the UPS headquarters and used to write things like that!) And yes, I’m with you (I’m now agreeing with myself), skip the holiday card this year. Just skip it. It’s okay. I give you permission.
* That party invitation you got? Accept it. Now. It’s walking distance. It’s people you like. It will be fun. As for having people over my house? Just keep things reasonably clean and picked up and have folks over casually whenever it works out, like yesterday, when my farmer/educator friend Farmer Sue of The Art Barn at Morning Glory Farm came by with her lamb and chicken after bringing them for a school garden visit. They hung out in my backyard garden while we ate. (Oh my gosh, I adore that lamb!) I cooked up a pizza and picked greens from that ever-ready garden. Talk about “real simple”! Want to see more about Farmer Sue? See Make an Entrance (Literally), Dine Al Fresco, and Dive In Like a Celebrity, and Dream Houses from Castles to Conservation Communities.
I have to finish this post, and fast, because I’m heading straight to Kudzu. No kidding. And I’m getting that fireplace cleaned, so that soon (very soon) I can be sitting by the fire, flipping through seed catalogs, and planning my okra patch for next year. Need help getting your to-do list done and getting on with your life, especially during this holiday season? You know where to go.