On Christmas and Books and Crochet

I figured I’d write a post that has nothing at all to do with money or shopping or anything like that. Mostly because I just need a little break thinking about it all.

Do you remember how I challenged myself to read 60 books this year? Well I’ve been doing pretty well but got derailed a couple of months. Now I have 8 more to go. I used Robert’s list of ranked books at 101 Books to help me put in a slew of requests at the library.  Right now, I’m reading Revolutionary Road. I have 1984 and Naked Lunch at home. The library is gathering together Never Let Me Go, Lolita, Rabbit, Run, Blood Meridian, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, I, Claudius, A Clockwork Orange, and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Can you believe I’ve never read these? At least, I don’t remember if I did.

It kinda kills me that I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and have not read so many classic books. My University never offered a great comprehensive course on more modern stuff which was just such a letdown for me. Anyways, I’ll have lots of books to choose from and I have a couple more Rick Riordan books to read as well to help get some fast and easy reads in there. 25 days. 8 books. Should be fun. I just realized my list of books that I’ve read on here needs major updating. I’ll have to put that on my To-Do list for the week.

It’s a really unique experience when I pull into my train station every morning. Coming up from a good read is so much like coming up from a dream-filled sleep. Honestly, that’s what reading is most like to me. Dreaming. I don’t know what everyone else’s experience of reading is like.

I’ve never been good at creating crystal images in my head. I can’t conjure up the perfect Frank and April Wheeler for instance. I just gather up these vague impressions that shift. It’s much the same as my dreaming experiences. Especially the dreams that play out as if they were a movie I was watching. Have you done that? Even in those kinds of dreams, the appearance of some “characters” suddenly change and I don’t skip a beat.

It’s like that for me with books. Characters aren’t static when I read them. They’re not definite either. In one of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, Percy is describing his meeting with Aphrodite. And it’s a struggle for him to describe her because she doesn’t settle into one appearance. She is all of his ideas of beauty swirling together, in and out. That’s my experience when I read books and try and envision characters.

But yeah, folding the corner or placing something in the book to mark the page. I put the book in my purse and look up blinking. I feel so surreal for the first few minutes as I walk to my office. With my brain drifting from the story into the reality. It leaves me feeling somewhat sleepy and sometimes even sad.

I would probably be reading faster but I got back to the crocheted afghan I promised my mother almost a year ago and began months ago. There’s this one row that has been going so slowly and tediously. It’s this beautiful cablesque row but you have to crochet, chain, crochet, turn, crochet, turn, repeat. Again and again across 152 stitches. I’ve been doing it little by little for the past three nights and I’m not done yet. This blanket though is really pretty. And I know that my mother will be very happy to have it and she will be very proud that I made it for her and honestly, there aren’t many times in my life where I’m convinced I’ve made my mom proud but the blanket one is a definite. So there’s a little excited anticipation moving me forward.

I have no delusions about having it ready for Christmas. I just want to have it soon. And I’m not going to crochet anything else until it’s done. The only exception would be a hat for my daughter to replace the butterfly hat because the cat decided the wool was much too tempting to not chew on.

I’m feeling hermitish again. Maybe it’s the time of year. I just want to withdraw into my shell of a home. It’s turning into a Christmas home too which is nice.

I put up our Christmas tree this weekend but when I went to put the angel from 1983 up, she didn’t light up. I love this angel. She’s the one sat on the top of our tree as kids for years. So The Boyfriend and I had the same idea– buy new lights and re-light her. It’s not exactly change the bulbs, I have to unwire her and buy a miniature string– the type they use for wreaths for instance. I’m happy about this prospect though. A vintage Christmas angel with LED lights. I hope my idea works or that at the very least, I figure out a way to make it work.

I have the crazy kind of Christmas tree. The one with the colored lights and the ornaments that have no theme or anything. I like those trees the best. I know there are people who love the Gold and Cream, or the Red and Green, or the Silver and White, or even the Pink, White, and Lime. But for me, everything goes. And every year I take the kids to Target to buy a new ornament to add. It’s had this unforeseen effect of making unwrapping the ornaments a really special experience. The only thing that makes me sad is that I’ve forgotten what ornaments are from what year and that sort of thing. This year when I put them away, I’ll have to pull out the Sharpie and write the info on the bottom of the special ones.

Stories. Memories. Creations. Personalities. All on a tree. There are even photos as the kids make ornaments in school to bring home. I found one of Eldest from four years ago. My heart jumped into my throat as I was jarred by the image. I don’t remember my Eldest looking like that. Was it really just four years ago? His cheeks were so sweet and his smile so funny. A little old man grin on a four year old cherub face. I kept looking from the ornament to him. It’s shocking when it’s unexpected like that. Mystifying.

A new year is mere weeks away. How can it be? And yet, how can it not?


6 thoughts on “On Christmas and Books and Crochet

  1. Reading is like that for me! I can pretty much get so lost in that dream like state that I become completely unaware of where/when I am. I have missed many a train-stop or bus-stop this way 😛 I haven’t read a lot of the books on your list, but they are on the to-do list… I just have to beat Skyrim first 😛

  2. The waking from a dream description is a good one for coming out of reading a good book – I feel that way, too. I also like the same type of Christmas tree decorations – decorating with memories is the best – we still hang a ball with our niece’s picture on it when she was a toddler – she is expecting her own baby in February. 🙂

  3. Nice. The New Year does always bring a sense of hopefulness. Glad the bad is behind and looking forward to what is in store. Christmas is nastalgic for me too, I love it!

  4. I did a great deal of traveling this year, but still managed to read 188 books. (I know my friend, Sandie, tells people I read a book a day, but it’s close to a book every two days.) That’s ten more books than 2010, so I do seem to have a regular pace. Of those 188 books, 105 were mysteries or crime fiction, a higher number than last year.


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