Christmas Sentiment

This year, I’ve had a nearly overwhelming sentiment to my family and the traditions we had when I was growing up. So when I heard this song by Tim Minchin on the radio on Eve’s morning, it struck home. Hard.

Minchin’s a native of Australia and is raising his family in England. Christmas memories for him are of Summer, a warm and sunny place. Though California’s not exactly in its hotter days of the year, it too is a naturally warm, sunny place. And I have as many family memories of Summers visiting family all over as I do from the holidays.

“White Wine in the Sun” is a feeling strongly infused with family for me. On those hot days, I learned from my grandma to just pop an ice cube in your white wine to keep it chilled, and it stays just as tasty. As we kids, my sister and cousins, grew up, it got easier to just enjoy one another’s company. Have a dinner, drink some perfectly pressed grapes, and revel in life itself. Nothing loud or overwhelming; my family is generally small and quiet.

Christmas got better as I got older, I think. The gifts were great, but they could wait. Waffles from scratch with a side of bacon were of utmost importance. We would see each other and eat meals together when we could. But even as a kid, I was just as excited to visit my cousins or my Auntie as I was to tear open those gifts.

Even now, so far away, my own family grown and active, it’s thinking back to my family times that warms my heart. Meatballs passed around my one grandma’s table, or cheese and crackers on my other grandma’s patio under the vine-covered canopy, those are my times. Those warm days, mentally or meteorologically, drinking white wine in the sun.

So I listened to Tim Minchin in my car, in the closed garage, on a quiet Christmas Eve morning. Tears in my eyes.

It’s tough being away from so many of my family. I love them. I miss them. They’re who I grew up with.

Merry Christmas. Mine is, and I hope yours is too. The sentiment is as lovely as the day itself.

The Pencil Jar

The pencil jar is the key to one’s success. Even though it is full of pens (the only pencil is the teal thing; yes really), it is rightly called a pencil jar. The duo of syllables are needed in the first word. Wouldn’t sound proper without them.

The right utensil for the right occasion is right at hand. No drawers to open. Everything good is in sight and out of mind.

And it has to be a proper jar. Ceramic or glass. The pen has to make a satisfying tink sound when it lands back in it. Metal doesn’t work right. And plastic? No. No no no.

That is what you need.

The only problem I have with my pencil jar? Missing a Sharpie. A basic, black Sharpie is the one pen you always need around and there is absolutely no substitute when it is absent.