This post is a bit of a rant. But with every rant there are also good moments. The day I had my failed shopping excursion, was a day of almost being warm and sunny. Also I found some excellent records for cheap, cheap, cheap.
I am pretty enthusiastic about Christmas-time. This is especially as the world has always been against me.
Does this sound whiny? Let me lay out some facts.
Okay, well, most of these facts are too sad and shouldn't be shared publicly. I have rarely had any friends that cared about Christmas-time like I do. Even when I was free to do Christmas up without any restrictions, I think 1992 was the first Christmas that I didn't work. Being the youngest, unmarried, employee not returning home meant all holiday shifts were mine. My Swedish friends probably can't conceive working Christmas Eve or Christmas day, but L.A. is a city filled with lonely stragglers at Christmastime needing a place to be.
But then, all the times that anyone did something nice for me at Christmas does really stand out in my memory. If I am feeling the Christmas spirit, then I would say that getting to spend ANY Christmases in Sweden have been a delight. Not to mention Iceland. I could let those balance out the Christmases spent in Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere.
There is also the obstacle of knowledge. Sometimes I long for Christmas unfettered by global news and intelligence. I have always looked at the masses of over packaged, unsustainable trappings of Christmas and thought "LANDFILL!". Because really, where else will it all end up?
But there have always been ways around that. Yet, still sometimes trying to be responsible can feel very lonely.
While my car was being serviced, I braved town to do some shopping.
I didn't need much. But really I found very little and certainly no Christmas spirit (what can you expect from a country without Thanks-giving and in the midst of a lousy, grey, wet Spring?).
I of course need craft supplies, I went to 'the' shop for sewing-all I needed was some linen. There was a line of maybe seventeen people (looking as cheery as you would imagine, but geez there wasn't even any xmas music on!) and three people serving behind the counter. After a bit of a search I found linen, without any polyester involved- they had 'pink' and not a very nice shade let me tell you.
I thought maybe there would be some (so popular!) up at the counter that hadn't had time to make its way back, so I waited (about twenty-minutes in line) to ask. The exchange went a bit like this- "Hi, How are you? I'm looking to buy some white or off white linen or both, and there is none on the floor- would there happen to be some back here?" Shop assistant "Hanna? Hanna! Could you take over I need to go and catch a bus."
Me- repeating my request.
Hanna "Linen is quite popular."
Me- "Great! So you have some?"
Hanna- "If there isn't any - No."
Me- "But it's um popular, so you'll get it back in?"
Hanna- walks away...returns
Me- "Oh, great, It's on order so do you know when it will arrive?"
Me- "I'm sorry did you say that the linen is on order?"
Hanna- "No, I don't know why we can not order it."
Hanna- "No, I don't know why we can not order it."
Me-"Would you happen to know where else I could buy that?"
Hanna- shrugging "A quilting store?"
Me- "Right, white linen, very important to the art of quilt making- Thanks!"
Most of my experiences go something like that, I also tried to buy a T.V. bench at a second-hand shop, I left my number as the women "thought" it had been sold but not paid for. The next day I went back by the shop as I was nearby but the shop was not opened even though it was 11 a.m. So I pushed a note through the door, but I have not heard from the shop. I always feel as if I am begging someone to please take my money.
My other large failure was trying to buy Australian themed Christmas cards. I mean, after all I am in Australia. After the second person (in more of a craft or boutique type shop) told me rather cuttingly I should try "a tourist shop"- I realized I was woefully un-cool and out of style somehow.
These are usually the endeavors that keep me inside and turning to places like Etsy.
Most years I make my cards like my embroidered cards from last year-
But here, alone, in the rain I can't quite rally.
So let me list (It is after all Thanksgiving elsewhere) some of my favorite Christmas moments.
Iceland- the best Christmas myths ever, with a witch included.
Sweden in the winter, snow and lights in every window, real Christmas trees in every square, and many building put up a communal one in the yard (Just like the whos of who-ville!)
Any Swedish Christmas quite frankly, because although everyone spends Christmas with their families, they always make time for their friends.
There was a Christmas in L.A. where I was alone, and lonely and a friend left me a real Christmas tree, as I was sad I couldn't afford one.
All the Christmases where someone called me, hearts ripped by family strife, and we spent Christmas on the run.
The year a friend and I painted terracotta pots, and gave plants to every lonely bar fly we could find.
Any time friends have come to stay with me at Christmas time.
Christmases where someone's family took me in- genuinely and warmly.
All my xmas'es with Zok even though he really, at heart is a wee bit like the Grinch- but then you have to go back to his being responsible for Iceland and Sweden.
Also he pretends not to notice when in a fit, I put up the tree while he is in the garden on a sunny day- so I 'accidentally' make a blender full of chi-chis (this comes from Christmas in Hawaii) and 'accidentally' get sloshed and wind up teary eyed and watching 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' Also if you have EVER spent Christmas all alone- you feel pretty grateful for company.
This post is for my friend Monte who does not have a Grinchy bone in his whole body.