Sunday, December 5, 2010

Making Merry

My blog sisters made me jealous when they wrote about their preparations for the holidays. Since I've moved to Florida, I'm having adjustment issues. I think of Christmas and Hanukkah, and I think COLD. I think snow, winter, freezing, evergreens, and bundled up people. And yes, the past few mornings in Florida, it's been nippy in the morning. That translates to 60 degrees, in case you're wondering. But it doesn't have that bare look that signals the full onset of winter.

So I talked to my sister Janie about it, and she said, "What would it take to get you in the mood?"

I said, "A tree."

We went shopping. Jane is a wonderful shopping companion. Very decisive. Very knowledgeable. Very up on trends. She knows I'm thrifty, so we went to Walmart. I found a tree I wanted, but it was the floor model. They agreed to sell it, but there wasn't a box, so they discounted it 10%, which made me feel virtuous. We had a bit of a challenge fitting it into the car, and a kind clerk decided to help us by shoving the parts of the tree into random boxes he'd rescued from the recycling. Then we discovered there was no assembly manual.

Well, shoot. All you have to do is plug the fat part of the tree into smaller parts, right? And then plug the sockets into each other and into the light socket, huh?

Uh, no. After hours of trying, I gave up. The tree listed to one side, dangerously. Only a third of the lights were lit. I was sadder than ever.

Jane said, "Let's get in the car." We did, and she drove me to ANOTHER Walmart. There I found a gorgeous all-white tree. Something about the all white color made me happy. I guess with the green tree, it felt like I was trying to copy Christmas up north, and with the all-white version, it was really, truly something different. Not better. Not worse. But different. When we lived in England, we always told our son that people around the world do things differently. "Not better. Not worse. Just different. And that's very, very cool." When you drop the judgment, you can enjoy things as they are.

That tree came home with us and all my blue and green ornaments look totally awesome on it. I'll try to post a photo next week. After we decorated the tree, we went to a sand castle contest that was held for charity. While we were there, my phone rang. My husband called to tell me he was flying me back to DC to see the Kennedy Center Honors dress rehearsal. I barely had time to shake the sand out of my shoes so I could make my flight!

I'm flying back to Florida tomorrow, but I had a wonderful time here, and I'm really feeling the holiday spirit. And the cold! At the dress rehearsals for the Kennedy Center Honors, I met Angela Lansbury and we discussed "Murder, She Wrote." We sipped tea together. She said, "I produced quite a few of those shows. We knew that if we had a body, we had a mystery." She explained that they would set up three suspects, and they didn't always decide in advance who the killer would be. She enjoyed her time as Jessica Fletcher. "Do you know that people actually think I wrote those books?" she said, as she shook her head. "Someone stopped me at the publishing house the other day and congratulated me on the latest one!"

I'm not getting much writing done, it's true. But I am getting a lot of living done. The best part of being a writer is that you get to use EVERYTHING that happens to you. I'm not sure exactly how I'll use all this, but I know I will.


caryn said...

Okay, I'm at least one move behind. I thought you lived in Virginia now? I hate cold weather, but your post is about what I perceive as the one problem w/ living in perpetual summer weather-the holidays. Even if it doesn't snow, there needs to be the chance that it could!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

It's confusing, isn't it? We moved to Northern Virginia (the suburbs of Washington, DC) last year around September. Then last month we bought a cottage on the beach in Florida. I hate being cold and my sisters, nieces, grand-nephew and son all live in Florida. It's sort of fun and bewildering to bop back and forth! And yes, there actually is a winter in Florida, but without the cold, it seems odd to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. However, I shall adjust!

NL Gassert said...

Funny how you equate snow and cold weather with Christmas. This is our third (and last) Christmas in Kansas, but our holiday tradition usually includes a trip to the beach on Christmas Day. Our one outdoor decoration is a lit Christmas palm tree :- ) We can’t wait to have our next holiday on the beach again. To us, holidays mean time spent outside, usually snorkeling and whale/dolphin/gigantic wave-watching.

The thing we dislike most about Kansas is the fact that people become sedentary and stay inside during the holiday season. People don’t seem as social, holiday parties notwithstanding.


signlady217 said...

I love watching the Kennedy Center Honors each year, and I love Angela Lansbury! Is she a recipient this year?

My husband and I lived in Jacksonville, FL, for 10 years and we've been in NE MS for over 14 now. I DO NOT LIKE COLD WEATHER! Never have. He is originally from MN, and we never go visit up there in the winter time. Brrrr! Our temps here this week: highs in the low-to-mid 40s and lows in the low-to-mid 20s. I'm not planning to be out much if I can help it! :)

Linda O. Johnston said...

How fun that you met Angela Lansbury, Joanna! And discussing both the Murder She Wrote shows and ghostwritten books--delightful!

Monica Ferris said...

I met the actual co-authors of the Angela Lansbury Murder She Wrote series. They, too, remarked that people are surprised that neither of them is Angela Lansbury. They also said the studio where the series was made exerts a lot of control over what they write. For example, Jessica Fletcher can't even kiss a boyfriend, much less have an affair.

Dru said...

I like my four seasons and the holidays doesn't mean the same if it's not cold.

Sounds like you had a good time at the Kennedy rehearsals.