Life Without Fresh Garden Veggies, and Christmas Plans

The orange Shima Fu clivia miniata arrived yesterday. It will be pollinated to the yellow New Hope clivia we already have.

When the two cybister amaryllis arrived Monday, I had a moment of ‘I think I’ve bought enough of these for the year.” I always go a bit over the top with amaryllis bulbs in autumn. But they are so beautiful and I have great memories attached to them, so in my enthusiasm, I end up with bulbs taking over the house.

Yesterday, however, the orange clivia arrived after its long journey. That’s very cool. So now I have a yellow New Hope and a variegated orange Shima Fu Miniata. Both are going into the garage for two months of dormancy to galvanize new growth and late winter blooming They’ll be cross pollinated, and I’ll cultivate the seeds and see what we get.

It’s 70 degrees outside today, aw yeah. But I’m sorely missing the food garden. Last night, as I prepared some basil/parsley pasta for dinner, I realized that my feasts of fresh veggies have vanished since late September, when we took down the vegetable gardens. We still have some sauce left, but that’s it for our homegrown food. Winter is going to be tough.

Two decision have been made about Christmas. Let me preface this by stating my creed about this holiday. Prepare yourself for a short tirade.

The modern American Christmas is a retail orgy and nothing else. It has implicit in it the assumption that spending lots of money will bring joy. It’s an idiot cycle of consuming, year after year. It makes impossible demands on everyone involved and disappoints every time. It’s oversold, and under-delivers. If there’s anything good about it, it completely escapes me.

I approached my husband last week and suggested that we don’t exchange gifts this Christmas. There’s no joy in it for either of us, I said; only the pressure of obligation. No fun at all.

I think my husband was taken back by the suggestion. He counter-suggested that we exchange gift cards of equal amounts. I compromised and agreed. I wanted a complete moratorium on gifts, and permanently, but at least we’re sparing ourselves the bother of figuring out what the other would want as a gift, finding it, buying it, wrapping it, and hiding it. I’m so utterly done with that.

Next Christmas, if we’re both still alive, I’m going to again suggest no gifts at all, or ever again. By then, he will have had a year to get used to the idea. I think we’re closing in on a change for the better.

The second decision involves Christmas cards. I dislike the obligatory card sending, but we both have elderly relatives who cherish the tradition, so the obligation is there. But this year, we’re cutting back on waste and expense, and making season’s greetings beneficial at least to someone other than ourselves.

I bought Buddhist-style postcards for 88 cents each. Proceeds benefit the Sirimangelo monks. Simple cards with an image of Shakyamuni and a message of peace. No envelopes. No sappy sayings or pseudo-poetry. And postcard stamp mailing rate.

We’re streamlining our list of recipients to just a few of the old-school family members who will rise up on their hind legs and howl if they don’t find cards in their mailboxes.

I do wish that Christmas was different. But Wall Street led the charge toward this madness a long time ago, and we happily joined in. Now, it’s an absolute mess.

My dream Christmas would be to spend December 25 skiing in Åre, Sweden, or Aspen, with my husband. Or maybe on a beach in a paradise like Maui. Or how about at home, free of clamor and clutter, door busters and Black Fridays; the fireplace fed, our dogs with us happy and safe and loved, some acoustic guitar playing softly, kisses, a great book, and a pot of tea.

Just imagine sailing through Christmas free of all this pandering and performance. An intimate day of peace, plants, compassion, kindness, joy, dogs, love, and a little good food. A Christmas free from consumer intensity, Wall Street and Wal Mart. I could live with that.

Live in peace

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