In the evening we joined friends for their annual peace party ("Give Peas a Chance" at which split pea soup and other green legume-based dishes and snacks are served liberally). It felt good to be among a crowd of people who genuinely yearn for peace, though it was difficult to keep the conversations from nose-diving down depressing paths.
Sunday we returned our Christmas tree to the woods. C was reminiscing about how, when he was a kid, they would dismember and burn their Christmas tree, right there in the living room, which to me just sounds barbaric. After all it's done for us, lifting our spirits and brightening home in darkest winter, to chop it up and set it on fire is a horrifying thought.
So we take it back to the woods, where it can provide shelter for critters and, eventually nourish the soil for other little trees. We somehow found the very stump form which we'd cut our tree, and could see, from the discrepancy in trunk diameter between our tree's base and the stump, how very much we'd had to take off the bottom to fit it in the house. Or maybe it shrank.
Sunday evening we had a belated Hanukkah feast with friends. This year I baked the latkes, which made them slightly less work and almost as good as fried (and a lot lower calorie, which means we could eat more of them). While clearing away the Christmas trappings and preparing for guests, I tidied a few corners of the house, a fresh start for the new year. When I was rearranging our ornament storage in the basement, I found a box of knickknacks and photos that have been put away since at least last Christmas. I took them out, dusted them off, and found a frame for one of the family photos Meryl took of us last summer to add to the collection.
I also tidied up the little corner of our living room where I keep my desk. I've been on a perennial quest to make this area work for me (see here, here, here, and here), and while I have often longed for more space, and more private space, and space that's not the first thing you see when you walk into our house, I'm right now kind of happy with my little setup.
I have everything I need for my projects right here—nature journaling and art supplies in the right-hand drawer of the desk, and tucked alongside the tall cabinet to the left, miscellaneous office supplies (and a fair amount of junk that should probably be dealt with) in the left-hand drawer. My field guides and naturalist supplies in and on the little bookshelf, yoga mats, and block, foam roller and acupressure massage mat, and yoga books between the cabinet and the bookcase. In the large basket, I keep magazines I need to read, my binoculars, and other supplies of that nature. One small basket holds my current knitting project. The other I call my "wellness basket." It holds my yoga strap, eye pillows, foot massage balls, hand cream, and other small objects related to health and fitness (the tennis balls are not for playing tennis—they're for making a massager whenever I get around to finding an old sock).
On top of my desk, a lamp, some pens and pencils, the calendar where I record daily weather events and high/low temps, a little stack of things I need or want to do, along with my nature journal and bullet journal (and a little gift bag full of thank-you notes which I swear to god I will finish writing tonight). I also found in the basement an electronic frame, which I used to keep in my office. I rustled up a memory card and have it set up to do a slideshow of our Colorado Trail photos.
I have not once sat at a desk to work since I left my 9-5 job (usually I sit on the sofa), but today, I actually sat here and wrote, edited and did this post! It's like there's something about a clean and tidy space that makes it easier to concentrate.