Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A fresh start, with stale crap

We have normality. Almost.

Houseguests have left the house. Visitors have stopped visiting. J-F is back at work this morning, and Helena, who was beginning to show signs of cabin fever, has returned to daycare.

Yesterday I ate a heck of a lot of cookies.

Today I am left to prioritize and begin to tackle a slew of tasks:

general housecleaning, of the kind the house has not seen for almost 2 weeks;

the purchase of toddler-size running shoes, of the kind that actually fit and do not hurt Helena's feet as she complains her now rather old running shoes do;

the purchase of toddler-size socks and underwear, certain realizations about which will by next Christmas, I expect, have turned me into a practical sort of mom, the sort of mom who gives her daughter socks and underwear for Christmas, because that's what she really needs, she certainly doesn't need more toys, and I figure I may have a couple years yet where she will delight in such gifts, perhaps she will learn to look forward to them in subsequent years, maybe even develop a lingerie fetish, or at least continue to receive them graciously, her groans will be suppressed with a flickering smile of understanding, though she will not truly understand until she herself is a mother watching her own child overwhelmed and potentially spoiled by a vast array of mostly useless, certainly financially reckless, and sadly ignored toys;

shopping in general, to treat myself to something nice, but most particularly for a pair of pants — I could really use some new pants;

the assembling of bedroom furniture;

the completion of The Globe and Mail's annual megacrossword puzzle (1532 clues this year), which I suspect will be set aside in its current state to be rediscovered next December as a useful means of procrastinating tasks regarding next Christmas's readiness, just as when I unearthed last year's half-completed puzzle a few weeks ago and felt pressured to make some headway before the new one was released.

the dismantling (4 tries it took me — I kept writing "dismemberment") of the Christmas tree; and

the active procrastination (already underway) of the big job I'm to deliver next week.

Books received for Christmas:
One. Just one. Do these people I call family even know me? What the fuck?

But the one, at least, is a really good one: Time Bites, a collection of essays, by Doris Lessing, on Sufism, cats, writing, and all manner of books. More on this later.

There's also the cash treat-yourself-to-something-nice envelopes, which I will use to compensate for everybody's oversight.

Books given:
a bistro-cooking cookbook;
a mostly photographic retrospective of Pope JPII;
Harry Potter #5, in French;
The Chronicles of Narnia, for my sister, whose recent admission that she'd never read them shocked me into the purchase, as well as leading me to wonder, "If she didn't introduce them to me, then who?"; and
a crappy sf book.

Books unfinished at year-end:
A Whistling Woman, by A.S. Byatt — deliberately set aside, but still I would've liked to be able to check it off at the end of the year. Really, books ought to be finished by year-end, except for those received at Christmas and periodically dipped into during the post-Christmas lounging period, but then I don't have to worry about that this year, having received only the one book and having had no time for lounging.

Also, Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes — not finished for lack of time, and because I refused to carry the hardcover with me during pre-Christmas public transit commutes, though I did find time to pick up with it again yesterday, and conveniently it is reviewed in Slate today.

Christmas stories, which do not measure against my now-favourite Christmas story, Paul Auster's Auggie Wren's Christmas Story (which I did re-read during the season, though sadly not aloud to a captive audience), but still:
The Horse in the Snow, by Jeanette Winterson
Present, by Ali Smith

Bookish things I mean to get round to writing about:
a phenomenal kid's book of poetry on jazz, or jazz poetry, which came into our house for our birthdays;
a trio of weirdly wonderful Moominland books, which I had been tucking into my bag and reading on the subway;
an exhibit celebrating 400 years of Don Quixote; and
thoughts on some stupid little book I read eons ago (Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook — decidedly neither stupid nor little, in case you don't hear my self-deriding tone for not being able to fully wrap my head around it, at least the part that has the capacity to articulate coherently about it).

Parenting mystery of the week:
How did my little girl learn to cheat at games?
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