December Cheer

Musings

At my house, it feels like a fever has broken. My husband just submitted his last grad school assignment today. His makeshift office in our living room is dismantled, and he’s starting to relax. It’s been a mad, stressful whirlwind for weeks, but now we get to celebrate his graduation. While I wasn’t the one racing to meet deadlines and grappling with complex problems, his stress seeped through the whole house. I did a lot of things by myself while he was busy. But no more grad school widow here! And just in time for us to shop, clean, and decorate for the holidays.

Candles

Click for source.

In case you haven’t guessed, I’ve decided to take this month off. Partly because December is the busiest month and partly because I’m content with trying to focus on enjoying the good parts of the holidays. Lighting Advent candles, singing hymns, decorating the Christmas tree, baking cookies — little rituals that brighten the shorter, colder days (I’m still getting used to walking out into darkness at 5:30 p.m. when I leave work). And, of course, time with family and friends. I’ll update as I can and start fresh with new goals in January.

In the meantime, what traditions brighten your holidays?

Spontaneity and Middlemarch

Gratitude, Life, Musings

So far, this month has been the anti-goals month. Or rather, it’s been a more spontaneous month.

I did spend an hour drawing this week. The drawing turned out … okay, but I enjoyed myself. Did I hit my goal of three to four sketches? No, I did not. But I did start reading Middlemarch by George Eliot, a sweeping, substantial Victorian novel often praised as one of the great masterpieces of English fiction. I spontaneously decided to undertake this epic reading project thanks to The Toast, which is hosting a virtual Middlemarch book club. And, you guys, I am SO excited to read this book and talk about it online because I never did finish it during my undergrad Brit Lit survey (the shame).

So, I forgive myself for reading this book instead of sketching more. Just like how I forgive myself for not writing in my journal some mornings because staying in bed and cuddling with my husband for those precious 20 minutes before we absolutely have to get up seems worth it. I’m still learning to balance things. And I’m also learning not to fight my natural whims. I set a good goal, but it wasn’t “filling the well” the way I thought it would, and so I’ve let myself take down time and start other projects. And it’s okay,¬† because this month I really do feel grateful to have time to relax before the holiday whirlwind, to have time to tackle this book, and to have time to spend baking and chatting with my new friend. I need these antidotes to work stress and the last few (completely insane) weeks of my husband’s graduate program. So, I suppose I’ll try to make time to draw again this week — but maybe I’ll just read instead.

Today I’m grateful for: this amazing marbled pumpkin gingersnap tart recipe from my Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I know what I’m making for Thanksgiving.