[Something’s] in the Details

“It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord . . . “ but it’s hard for me to know because either way, I’m not too good with details. Unless I’m correcting someone else’s grammar in my head. (Or in the ear of my fiance.)

The other day I was practicing my soon to be new signature. I write my signature in cursive, but that is the only time I use cursive anymore. In college I reinvented my own handwriting and it looked cool for a while until I got used to it; now it’s just as messy as my cursive was to begin with, and that might just be my lack of motor control, but it might also be that I don’t ever write anything that much, because I’m mostly typing all the time. I’ve decided I’m going to take Paul’s last name but keep mine for my writing credits. What I’m trying to decide right now is whether I should make my legal first name a combination of my current first and middle name (Jennifer-Anne, which is what I was called all through elementary school anyway) and have my current last name be my middle name, or just officially drop my current last name entirely, or make my middle name a secret. I think the initials JGL are cooler than JAL for some reason, though JGL could make people (like me) think juggle, or . . . similar words . . . JAL looks like Japan Airlines. Keeping all the names makes for a very long name. And I’m not sure I could get any more used to hyphenating my first two names than I can to writing Paul’s last name. I wrote it over and over, but it was hard, not because it’s a hard last name, but because the only words I ever write in cursive anymore are Jennifer Anne Grosser. It’s like my internal cursive app is broken or something.

Maybe my trouble with the details is that I fixate on them.

So it’s probably a good thing that Paul and I are having a simple and small wedding, because if I were going for DJ’s and florists and big reception halls and trying to decide which of my 800+ friends on facebook to invite (not to mention The Readership), I’d be sunk. Particuarly since we’re getting married in just over two months. As it is, I’ve spent this whole morning emailing and instant-messaging back and forth with Mom and the BroFam about travel plans and the rehearsal, and whether we’re going to have a rehearsal dinner, when almost all the people who will be at the reception dinner the next day will also be at the rehearsal, and whether there will be any sort of “girl party” when none of the women I would want to invite will actually be invited to the wedding, since it’s siblings, parents, and grandmothers only, though they will be invited to our larger reception in the summer . . .

From an outside perspective I’m sure it looks like we’re rushing things, and sometimes when I get overwhelmed by the details, it feels like we are. Sometimes I realise that I’ve been single for my whole entire life and I feel like I’m about to reach a fork in the road I’ve been wishing to reach for years and suddenly I’m terrified that I won’t be any good at either the details or the generalities that I encounter once I make that turn. Sometimes I feel like I’ve waited for this for so long that right at the end something is going to go horribly wrong (like, maybe he has an insane wife in the attic . . . except he doesn’t have an attic) and it’s not going to happen.

Then I remember that I love Paul and that he loves me and God loves both of us, and that there are very practical reasons for getting married in March instead of the June wedding we had originally envisioned. (As just one example–my craziest work-time starts in June; it would be kind of frustrating to get married and then for me to say, “See ya! I’m off to go camping and conferencing with a bunch of teenagers for a few months!”) The only thing about it is that it means we have to go into overdrive to get his house ready for a new occupant, figure out which of my stuff is coming with me, etc, etc, etc. I’m just praying that somehow even this becomes a holy experience, and that we find God in the details.

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Chuckles

This post was written on Christmas Eve, even though posted later.

It’s Christmas Eve, and I feel that the general tone should be somewhat seriously joyous and expectant, and besides, I didn’t write my “To say or not to say Merry Christmas” blogpost yet this year, and I have one . . .

But it’s also lunchtime, and I decided to open some gifts. For those who don’t know, or don’t remember, my official job is “Director of Christian Education” at a church. I oversee children’s Sunday school and the youth group, and any adult Bible studies fall under my “auspices,” too. This year two little girls from Sunday school handed me a Christmas present after our Birthday Party for Jesus, and one of the youth handed me a wrapped gift on the same day. This delighted me, and I wanted to wait to open these gifts until Christmas, but at the same time, it seemed like extra stuff to bring to Paul’s, and somewhat weird to open presents to myself from people no one else present (get it? present?) was going to know. So today I sat down to my lunch and opened the presents.

The two little girls (and their mother) had given me a comfortingly large bar of chocolate and a lovely-smelling lavender soap. Aww, I thought. That’s sweet. The teenager’s gift was large and square and flat, and if this were the 80’s, it might have been a toss-up as to whether or not it was a calendar or a record, but since it isn’t the 80’s (a fact for which I am frequently grateful), I was pretty sure it was a calendar. I wondered what sort of calendar theme this lovely, vivacious, affectionate young lady would have chosen for her youth group leader, but I’ll have to say when I opened it up, I burst out laughing–alone, mind you, except for Oscar–and had to acknowledge that none of my guesses had even come close.

It was a Nuns Having Fun calendar.

Apparently this concept has been going on for a while, but I had never heard of it–maybe because I’m not Catholic and also rarely watch the Ellen DeGeneres Show (although I like it when I do). I think this gift is hysterical and awesome, but it does raise all kinds of questions.

Did this girl get me this present because she resonates with my sense of humour enough to know I would think it was hilarious, or because she thinks I’m nun-like and I need to lighten up? Or because she thinks I’m nun-like but also fun? Or because she and the rest of the youth–and maybe the rest of the church–need a category for single women in full-time Christian work and only the Catholic church has one? Or . . . It could be any of these things, really, because probably none of them are all that far off the mark, depending on the day. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve been compared to a nun or asked if I was one, though it is the funniest. I can’t find it offensive on any level because I find it delightful instead, and besides, this young lady also recently registered “aghast-ment” at learning I’m almost forty, asserting that she had thought I was twenty-five. She can probably still get a lot of mileage out of that remark. Whatever the reason she decided this calendar was for me, it might explain why she looked a little taken aback when, after she handed it to me, still wrapped, I showed her my nice sparkly new engagement ring. Pretty sure nuns don’t have that kind of fun . . .

Otherwise Engaged

I had my suspicions.

It’s not like The Boyfriend (hereafter known as himself: Paul) and I hadn’t spoken of marriage before. We had done so kind of a lot, actually. So when he said, “Can you please block out the Saturday before Christmas? Can we go on an day trip again? It’s been a while,” I agreed because–well, true, it had been a while, but also, what if that was the day he was going to propose to me?

Then I remembered that Cousin Mary Anne and Grandma M were planning to visit that weekend.

I called Mary Anne and told her about the Saturday scheduling conflict. “Here’s the thing,” I said. “I think–I’m not sure, but I think I might be getting a ring that day.”

Appropriate gushing and squealing ensued.

“Of course,” I said, “It could just be a decoy.” Maybe I was supposed to think I was getting a ring that day, and he was going to hold out and wait until Christmas or something. Just in case, Mary Anne and I rearranged our weekend so we could still see each other and yet Paul and I could have our day trip.

This week Paul said, “I think we should leave early. Like 7.”

Groaning, I set my alarm for 5.30 a.m. when I went to bed at 11.30 p.m. on Friday night, and woke up accordingly. Seriously. I think I only hit the snooze button once. I walked Oscar and took a shower and did my hair and my make-up, and made extra coffee for our trip, and then I texted Paul to tell him I was on my way.

“Don’t rush,” he texted back. “I just woke up.”

We might’ve been on the road by quarter to eight, and got out in Newport, Rhode Island, at the Cliff Walk. It was cold and overcast and we were bundled up in layers upon layers, topped with scarves and hats, but it wasn’t raining, so we leashed up the dogs and set out. We walked and stopped and took pictures of things like roses which apparently still bloom on the Cliff Walk in December, and it was very companionable, and then we came to the Forty Steps. There are actually more than 40 of them, but we walked down them all and stood at the bottom in a little alcove-y sort of thing, looking out at the water. Paul got a little romantic. Then he bent down on one knee and . . .

. . . tied his shoe.

He stood up again and patted down his pockets. Then we climbed back up the Forty Steps.

The rest of the walk went pretty much the same way, with some sunshine and Doctor Who references thrown in. I suppose I should have thought to be suspicious about how many times he appeared to need to tie his shoe, but the thing was, he was wearing new hiking boots which had only just arrived last week. Everyone knows that new shoelaces don’t stay tied. So I guess I didn’t think much of it.

After we returned to the car from the Cliff Walk, I suggested that a cup of tea would be nice. (My philosophy is that every good walk should have a cup of tea at the end of it. Particularly when the walk requires scarves and hats.) We discovered a cute little diner crammed between some other shops, with a ceiling full of glass Christmas baubles. It was the epitome of tacky Christmas, but it looked sort of great in that space. Paul drank a coffee. I drank a tea. Paul said, “It’s a little hard to hold my girlfriend’s hands when they’re both cuddling a teacup.” I smiled and gave him my left. Which he held until we decided we were done and it was time to go.

We got back in the car and drove along Ocean Drive to look at all the mansions and other exhibitions of profligacy along the Newport coast, and then drove down to Jamestown for lunch in a cute little deli. By this time, I had to admit to myself that I was feeling a little disappointed and that clearly this was the decoy day and that Christmas was only a week away, but really? Couldn’t we just make engagement official today? My left-hand ring finger was starting to feel lonely.

For the next little while, we drove around along the coast and Paul would keep suggesting we get out and look at stuff, and so I gamely did. But the sun had gone in again, and it was colder than ever, and I’m not a big fan of short drives and short stops and hopping in and out of the car, so by the time we got to Fort Wetherill State Park, I was pretty much ready just to go home. This time, though, when we got out, we left the dogs in the car. I took note of this, but not too hopefully. By now I had quite a little catalog of passive aggressive comments I could have said going on in my head, but fortunately I had enough foresight to realise that a proposal extracted by passive aggression wouldn’t be very satisfying either to me or my beloved, so I kept my mouth shut.

We walked along a little scrub-lined path and came out onto a high bluff overlooking the ocean and surrounded by it on three sides. The water extended in a dark grey expanse and the sky extended in a lighter grey one and it was, in fact, quite beautiful. There were benches facing the view, and I thought I might like to sit on one, although it also occurred to me that the cold of the metal would probably cut right through my jeans and long johns. “Here,” said Paul. “Let me take your picture.”

After the shutter clicked, things got a little confusing. I think I was summoned up to the bench, and then suddenly Paul was on his knee again but not tying his shoe, and there was a little fuzzy black box in his hand. “Oh!” said part of my brain, “He’s doing it!” and I sat down awkwardly on the bench because I’m already considerably taller than my man and the ground was uneven and something felt weird about standing there towering over him on his knees like that, and then he said, “So, are you gonna marry me or not?”

I laughed, and then I said, I suspect a little reproachfully, “Yes.” And then I said, “It’s beautiful!” because the box was open and the ring was glinting out of it in the winter light and it really really was. I should hope that, just as every mother thinks her baby is the most adorable, every woman would think her engagement ring is the most beautiful, but I really think mine is. I had told him I didn’t want diamonds–that a plain band would be fine, but I’m glad he didn’t listen to me (in spite of the havoc that the diamond trade wreaks in places like Africa) because he managed to find something that was so simultaneously simple and fancy and just plain elegant that I never could have imagined myself. I handed the box back to him because I wanted him to put that astonishing piece of jewelry on my finger, and even though I didn’t say so, he did it.

Then he said, “Let’s go back to the car–I brought some champagne that we can drink out here. It’ll warm us up.” So he marched back up the path and I think I might have cavorted along behind him. As we were walking, he said, “Did I just ask you, ‘Are you gonna marry me or not?'”

I laughed again.”Yep.”

It turned out he had an entire speech planned, and none of it came out at all, but it didn’t matter, because what he had said had worked anyway, and we were sitting back on those cold benches drinking champagne out of champagne flutes which had our first initials painted on the side (the champagne was Perrier-Jouet and the flutes had an intertwined P and J) by accident. The sun came out and made a cross on the water and we were happy.

This Just In

More details than you ever likely wanted will be forthcoming in the next few days, but for now I would just like to say,

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Smelly Food

During the first semester of my first stint at a Master’s degree, when I thought I might want to be a counselor (it took me a year to decide unequivocally that I didn’t), I had a roommate who didn’t like stinky food.

This was a problem, because I love food that can best be described as “pungent,” and besides that, I had just moved back from over five years of living with, eating with and caring about people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (and lots of other places, but those places places probably have the most pungent foods of all the countries of origin with whose refugees and migrants I had been working). I doubt, if I made Indian food for an Indian person, that they would think it was very authentic, but at the same time, I don’t think I’m so bad at it, and it’s one of my favourite cuisines to cook. My Madhur Jaffrey Indian cookbook which Uncle Ted bought me for a graduation present after college (along with a bunch of other things) is definitely the most dogeared and oil-splashed of any other such book I own.

But during this first semester of the first stint of grad school, every time I sliced an onion, my roommate would shove open all the windows in the apartment and open the door, too. Even in the middle of winter. We were in Denver, so . . . sometimes it got a little cold in there. These actions would make me want to ramp up the smells (25 cloves of garlic!–just kidding) just because I found them so intolerant and annoying. I guess you could say we didn’t have the best of relationships. We were both students in the counseling programme; probably we’d have been wise to go to counseling together for our own domestic peace . . . although that didn’t occur to me until right this second, honestly.

Ever since then, I have been sort of self-conscious, but also a little stubborn, about the food I eat. I like onions and garlic and spices and blue cheese, and back when I was dating around, I’m not going to lie, but food tastes were kind of something I was on the alert about. If I asked someone if he liked “ethnic food” and he said, “Yes, Italian,” I’d want to investigate a little more because Italian isn’t usually what I’m talking about. Unless it’s squidgy seafood. Once I asked my non-seafood-eating date if he’d be okay if I ordered a plate of pasta with baby octopi and calamari on it, and he said he thought he’d be sick. We’re still friends, but we didn’t date anymore after that.

“My man” doesn’t have to have the exact same tastes I do, but I’ve always preferred someone who was “not a picky eater” and willing to experiment with the range of taste-palette expression. The Boyfriend fits the bill quite nicely in this area (he doesn’t really like Indian food, but he’ll eat it if he has to), but I think last night we both came close to opening up the windows.

Back when I was going through my initial cancer treatments, I signed up for a share with a CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) farm run and owned by the family of another previous roommate with whom I had a better relationship. The idea was to pump up my intake of fresh, organic cancer-fighting vegetables, and I’ve been getting a box a week from them mostly ever since. I love this, but every once in a while something shows up in the box which I am unable to identify. The first time they sent me a daikon radish, I’m not sure what I thought it was, but I threw it in my juicer and my head almost exploded when I took a sip. I had to dump the rest of the juice out.

This year the farmers have been doing a great job of sending out a weekly newsletter, complete with recipes utilising the ingredients in the boxes, and so I was introduced to this recipe. I made the pan-fried Daikon Cakes once already, and both The Boyfriend and his daughter received them favourably, so I decided to make them again as a side-dish last night when I was cooking for him. (Usually he cooks for me and I clean up, so this was kind of a big deal.)

I prepped the pancakes at home, and here’s the thing. Daikon radish is pretty much the pinnacle of smelly food. I grated it in my mother’s food processor and put it in the fridge for half an hour, and when I opened up the fridge, it (the fridge) smelled like the contents of a baby’s diaper. Then you add an onion and garlic to that. By the time I was done mixing it up, my entire house smelled like the contents of a baby’s diaper. The only reason I kept going was because I had already tried this once before and discovered that somehow, in some way, the end result of this tastes really good.

I put the baby-diaper-content-smelling mixture in an airtight plastic container, said goodbye to my stinky house, and headed over to The Boyfriend’s. “Watch out,” I said. “This stuff smells horrible. I mean horrible.”

“How bad could it really be?” he asked, alluding to his admittedly nastily aromatic dog.

I opened the container.

“Oh,” he said. “Wow.”

Miraculously though, once again, they turned out tasting really good, and in the end we didn’t have to open any windows. Kissing was right out for a while, though.

In a Sari State

The first time I wore an Indian sari, I was a college student traveling with 8 other people for five weeks during the summer. (As an aside, if you can avoid India in July, you’d be best advised to do so.) The sari had belonged to an elderly missionary who had since retired to the United States, so it wasn’t exactly top sari fashion or anything, but it was durable polyester and it was a good practice sari.

Two of the people on our traveling team were a college-aged brother and sister duo who had been born in India but moved with their family to the US in late childhood. The first time I wore that polyester sari, that sister enlisted the help of some of the other female travelers, in order to teach us all the art of sari tying at once.

We learned that there’s an underskirt, and that it’s best to cinch the drawstring on that uncomfortably tight, because that’s basically what holds the rest of the outfit together. We learned the sari itself is a big 9-yard long rectangle of fabric. You tie a knot in one corner and tuck it in the right side of your underskirt, and then start wrapping the thing around your waist, right to left. There are these pleats that you fold in the front, and we learned that the first one is the trickiest to fold because it’s meant to hang straight down like the other ones, but it’s hard to get it to do that. Unless you haven’t got hips, in which case you might be a guy, and probably stopped reading this post about twelve sentences ago.

Apparently the more pleats you can incorporate into the front, the more beautiful the sari is, and therefore the more beautiful the wearer. Evidently I had a good amount of pleats, because when I emerged from the room with my first ever sari, Sari Sister’s brother said, “Wow. Wow.”

One of the female members of the team said, “Here comes Amy Carmichael!” which I took as quite as nice a compliment, because Amy Carmichael has always been a hero of mine.

In subsequent years, I acquired a new sari when I was asked to be in Sari Sister’s wedding, and then I got some shalwar kameez from Pakistani friends when I lived in London. So, even though most of the time my old fashioned polyester sari spends its time as a curtain, and wedding attendant sari lies folded in my cedar trunk, every so often, I have the opportunity to wear one or the other.

Four years ago, I was thrown into Now Church’s Christmas pageant for the first time. At the end of the pageant, the narrators say, “And people from all walks of life, people from all corners of the earth, will come and worship the One who brings us light.” Then people, dressed up as people from other countries or times, or, say, bikers with tattoos, come down the aisle one at a time and leave something at the altar, and sing a song.

Dismayingly, I don’t currently have any South Asian friends in this part of this country, so the chances of my being able to wear a sari or shalwar kameez to, for example, somebody’s baby’s first birthday party, are nil. So the pageant seemed like as good an opportunity to bring those outfits out. I chose the old school sari. But then the next two years, I wore shalwar kameez, so I really haven’t tied a sari since December of 2008.

Yesterday I discovered that maybe sari tying is not like riding a bike. I couldn’t remember which direction to wrap it. I pleated the pleats in the right direction, but then somehow the rest of the thing wrapped backwards, so that I was flinging the end over the right shoulder instead of the left, which made the pleats flatten and try to go the opposite way. At least, I thought, I can still get a decent number of pleats in here.

But then I went to the dressing room to see if I could round up some assistance and maybe, unbelievably, someone who actually knew how to tie these things. “Miss Jenn,” one of the pageant’s little angels asked with some concern, “Why is your belly showing?” I had forgotten how much that would’ve freaked me out as a kid.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “it soon won’t be, if I can figure out how to wear this right.”

“I’m sure,” said the angel’s grandmother, “you’ve seen bellies before.”

“You probably have one,” I said. “Do you?”

“Yes,” said another little angel. “But mine is thin.”

Totally “de-pleated,” as it were, I returned to my office to resume my fight with my attire. I managed a makeshift, belly-hiding drape, and, while narrating the story of Sweet Baby Jesus, tied and retied saris in my mind. So that, by the second showing of the pageant, I had got it right.

Curious Minds Want to Know

In spite of feeling conflicted about self-promotion, I have to say I always feel rather chuffed (it’s British slang for pleased and I’m going to keep using it until I’m sure you all know what it means, because it’s a great word which we should be using on this side of the pond) when I get an email that tells me that “Such-and-Such-Person-I’ve-Never-Heard-Of liked your post” or “is now following your blog. Congratulations! You might want to visit their blog and see if you like it as much as they liked yours.” Or something like that.

I always do go check out your blogs, and I find that, indeed, I do like them.

Lately, although my Readership seems to be dwindling in numbers, I’ve gotten more of these emails than usual, and it’s kind of fun, but since we don’t have mutual friends that I’m aware of, I’m kind of curious to know how you Jenn-Story newbies discovered my blog in the first place. At first I was mostly getting subscribers among other writers and editors whose main schtick, like mine, is personal stories and the broader world of writing. How did you know? And now, ever since I wrote that steampunk post, I’ve gotten readers in the fashion world. Is this because of the steampunk post? Or because of my new activities on eBay? Or . . . what?

Come on lurkers and bold subscribers–how did you end up here? And for the Readership in general–how do you decide which blogs and websites you’re going to keep coming back to?

Knife-Throwing and Tumbling

Sometimes there’s a reason one gets picked last in gym class.

Okay–not to jump conclusions about any of the rest of you who suffered that humiliation in your childhood, but–probably there’s always a reason. Maybe what I should have said was, sometimes one does not ever outgrow that reason.

Or I could just say: I’m a klutz.

If you’ve been reading this blog since it was that blog, you might remember the falling-down-the-stairs story, and I may even have admitted that I fall down an entire flight of stairs at least once–and sometimes twice–a year. This evening I realised that I also slice my finger on kitchen knives at least once a year. The reason I realised it this evening was that this was apparently the evening in 2011 for me to do that. Actually, I think I’ve exceeded my quota, maybe.

It’s kind of silly, because I never get picked last for slicing vegetables if I go to people’s houses for dinner and ask what I can do to help. Almost invariably I am handed a knife and a cutting board (or pointed in their general directions) and requested to slice tomatoes or something. It’s weird, because I’m just about as bad at that as I ever was at gym class. My finger-slicing adventures are not confined only to my own kitchen, either. At least twice in my life I have sliced such a big chunk off my finger or thumb at someone else’s house, that by rights I probably really should have gone to get stitches. What I usually do is just use up half of my host’s (or my own) supply of Band-Aids.

The last two times I’ve sliced a finger, however, I haven’t just been a clumsy vegetable cutter. Both times I have somehow entirely lost control of the knife such that it began to hurtle through the air. Both times I have caught it–in the finger. Sometimes I wonder why I still have all ten.

Fortunately, tonight’s incident happened after I had finished stuffing this acorn squash:

I made up the stuffing myself, and it’s pretty delicious, so I’m going to bonus up this blogpost and give you a very imprecise recipe:

1. Halve an acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. Put it in the oven for about an hour. At what heat? Um . . . I forgot, actually!

2. While the squash is cooking, put some olive oil in a frying pan, slice up something oniony (the first time I did this I used a red onion which was amazing; tonight I used a shallot, and that was good, too), and start frying it with an aim to getting it nearly caramelised.

3. Cut up an apple into small pieces (you can leave the peel on, but get rid of the core, obviously) and chop or food-process a handful of walnuts.

4. Throw the apple, the walnuts and another handful of dried cranberries into the pan with the oniony vegetable, and fry some more.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Actually . . . everything in here is pretty much to taste, so . . . whatever.)

6. Grate some sharp cheddar cheese and throw it in right at the end (i.e. right before the squash is done cooking, not right after everything else is suitably fried), mixing it up quickly.

7. Remove the squash from the oven and scoop the pan-fried stuff into the hollows. Put the whole thing back in the oven for 10 minutes.

8. Enjoy!

Would you look at that. A story and a recipe. Maybe the gash across my thumb this evening is worth it. Don’t worry. It’s not the secret ingredient.

Have Yourself a Clacky Little Christmas

One day a few weeks ago The Boyfriend and I made our weekly pilgrimage to Ocean State Job Lot and I realised that suddenly everything was all over Christmas decor. A thought jarred me. “Coloured lights?” I asked The Boyfriend, “or white?”

He grinned and said, “What do you think?”

“Coloured,” I said.

“Yep,” he agreed. “And you like white.”

“Yep,” I echoed.

“Yeah,” he went on. “I like tacky Christmas. Light-up Santas in the front yard. Fake candy canes up the driveway. You like classic Christmas, don’t you? Currier and Ives? I can’t stand it.”

Evidently the “I can’t stand it” had more to do with previous associations than with Currier and Ives (and I might like to add on my own behalf that Currier and Ives specifically don’t really do it for me). Also, I have since learned that for him, “tacky Christmas” means “fond childhood memories” Christmas, and I can sympathise with that; we had coloured lights when I was a kid, and I grew up in the 80’s, so how untacky could that have been?)

But at the time, all I heard was “tacky Christmas.” My heart dropped, kind of like it did when I read him Blueberries for Sal (admittedly possibly not the best entry-point for a guy) in an attempt to introduce him to children’s literature and his verdict was that he hated children’s books. We have now made that whole thing into a joke and he routinely describes things with a kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk, so I think my point (that children’s literature is necessary for clever references) has been made. But the Christmas decor thing? We hadn’t crossed that bridge yet. Were lawn-Santas going to be our deal-breaker?

Let’s get this straight. We are both aware that Christmas isn’t actually about the decor (or the presents–which he nevertheless seems really excited about buying). That in itself is probably a truth in our favour. We also both really like to decorate for it even if such decorating is incongruous with what we’re really celebrating. That probably bodes well, too. But I like my white-lit real Christmas tree with homespun ornaments, and my vine-designed door angel, and when I see inflatable Santas in people’s yards, my main impulse is to burst them. Does that make me a bad person?

“Well,” he said, after I didn’t say the above but probably kind of groaned a little, “we can have tacky Christmas at my house and classic Christmas at yours!”

Which is all well and good for this year, but . . . what happens if we celebrate the entire Christmas season in the same house next year? I mean, it could happen.

It was with this question in mind, randomly, during our hike on Sunday afternoon, that I announced that we were going to have to figure out how to have a “clacky” Christmas. Classic and tacky. He, I suggested, could still put up his coloured lights and his fiber-optic Christmas tree (What?! What am I conceding here?), but I would want to be able to put up my ornaments, too.

Considering his house is pretty small and there might not be room to store ornaments, let alone put them out anywhere, and the fact that we’re not engaged, for example, the discussion was tabled. But honestly? The quirky part of me is kind of intrigued to see what a “clacky” Christmas might look like. Aren’t you?

Unready

If you subscribe to this blog via email (a.k.a. “Can’t Get Enough Jenn Stories?”), you got an email today for a blogpost that (gasp!) is apparently invisible!

All that means is that I hit publish after writing it instead of draft. And the reason I meant to hit draft is because, at least at this point in our relationship, I think it’s only fair to let The Boyfriend pre-read the posts in which he plays a main character. There are aspects of any relationship that make good stories, but I want to make sure they’re respectful, too. It would just be ridiculous, for example, for me to drag an argument before the public eye and include you in it. For some reason, I don’t think that would go in my favour.

Evangelicals like to cite some verses in Ephesians enjoining husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. Then they point out that the reason the apostle Paul used those to verbs for those specific spouses is women primarily want love and men have a hard time giving it, and men primarily want respect and women have a hard time giving that. I don’t know about that–I suspect we all want respect and love. But I can tell you that popular culture does kind of make it seem like it’s hard for women to give respect to men, by and large. I don’t want mindlessly to succumb to that overarching attitude, so . . . thus the draft read-through. It seems like a good policy–I dunno.

Fortunately, The Boyfriend and I really haven’t had that many arguments so far, and the pulled post isn’t about one, but a few edits were requested, so if you were already emailed it this morning? Well. How lucky are you? You’ll get to read it twice.