Christmas Still Life with Cat

It’s 7:08 on Christmas morning. How come the cat and I are the only ones awake? And who’s the kid in this family anyway? *drums impatiently*

As Joy is quick to remind me, when Indigo was born and we needed to figure out holidays, I didn’t even want to celebrate Christmas. “We’re Jewish Unitarian Universalists,” I said. “I don’t believe in Jesus Christ and all that.”

“Amy, you lead Christmas services every year!”

“Yes, well, that’s for my church . . . If I really celebrated the holiday that means the most to me, we’d just do Solstice.”

“Solstice, schmolstice,” she said. “I want presents!”

“So we’ll do Hanukah like when we were kids.”

“I celebrated Hanukah and Christmas when I was a kid.”

I snorted, though gently. “That seems like trying to have it all.”

“Yep! What’s wrong with that?” she said.

And that line of argument won. Being me, I have to justify it by recalling that I really am very happy Jesus was born. Happy birthday, Jesus!

Joy herself draws the line short of having a Christmas tree. However, the years of erosion from Indigo’s lobbying have led to this rosemary plant from Trader Joe’s now making back to back appearances. Indigo decorated it with earrings of mine. But we are definitely never putting up lights. Bah, humbug.

The stockings were hung from the postcard rack with care

Eventful day

Eventful day

As I shared on Sermons in Stones, I joined Indigo for an art workshop at our local library yesterday. I want to post photos of the notebook cover she made. I love her sense of design.

Front cover:

Back cover:

Then we went across to a gallery where we’d seen the exhibit separately and both liked the art. A jewelry pop-up was in progress; it was lovely stuff too. Right there and then, Indigo (who has been thinking about it off and on for years) said she wanted to get her ears pierced. I said, “You mean, today? Now?” We had just enough time, well, theoretically, before we had to leave for the church auction. She said yes, and an hour and a half later we were headed to the auction with these brand new accessories.

She didn’t even flinch. She says she works hard at that. As an outlet she just said a deeply-felt “Ow” after each one.

Glass mosaic

As a gift to Indigo, Joy gave her a weekend workshop for the three of us in glass mosaic making. We have been looking forward to it for months, and this was the weekend. It is lovely to see Indigo’s great sense of design expressed in this new medium.

12″ x 12″

Many thanks to Randina Casenza at Studio 9 Mosaics, a very fine artist and teacher.

Artifact from age 3

We are helping Indigo with some serious room purging and organizing, in preparation for getting a loft bed and desk. Interesting discoveries have resulted. I insisted on documenting this for posterity before she recycled it. It really helped with the bedtime routine when she was 3-4 years old. Note the additional drawing by Indigo herself, with snowballs (how does she remember that they were meant to be snowballs?) and the obligatory belly button.

Proud happy kid

She went straight from a yellow/orange belt to an orange/purple belt in karate! Skipping is fairly rare, and her promotion letter said she was only being promoted to orange, but since sending it, the teachers conferred and decided she had attained the next level. They kept it as a surprise until they presented her with the belt last night.

The best

Indigo was lying on her side on her bed, reading. I went up close, kissed her shoulder, and said, “Aren’t books the best?” She looked up, said “No,” pulled me in with one arm, and went back to reading. I stayed there for a long time, her arm around me and mine around her, listening to her heart beat.

A special Monday off

Mondays are the second day of my “weekend,” Saturdays being the first, and since Joy and Indigo have work and school, I usually have a quiet day at home alone. The public schools now have a full week off for Thanksgiving, though, so today my daughter is home and one of her best friends is spending the day here too. They don’t see each other much since they started in different middle schoolls, and they are really loving being together.

So it is not as quiet as usual. Instead, in the next room, two 11-year-olds are laughing over a jigsaw puzzle and chanting along with the Hamilton cast album. They are practically letter-perfect. I am practically perfectly happy.

Election Day

Even though I was only delivering a mail-in ballot that I could have popped into any mailbox during the past several weeks, I went to the polling place today because my soul needed it, and because I like Indigo to see it. The line slinked out the basement door of our branch library, which was great to see, especially since we didn’t have to wait in it. I put the ballot in the red box (Indigo declined to do it for me: “I’m not voting”) and the volunteer pollworker gave me a sticker.


She cheerily insisted on giving one to non-voting Indigo as well. If Fox News gets a hold of a photo, there will be a scandal: “San Francisco stuffing the ballot boxes with 11-year-olds’ votes!” They’d be right to be nervous; she’s a radical.

Tuesdays are also the nights we put out the trash / compost / recycling, a task that always gives me a pleasant feeling of renewal. The house is lighter by several pounds of unwanted stuff, and we’re contributing organic matter to the soil and recyclables to the waste stream. It’s so tidy how it all gets picked up and taken to the right place by a well-planned, well-executed process. At least, it looks good on this end.

This Election Day has been a long time in coming. I hope its effects are as useful as Trash Day’s, for my daughter’s sake. Despite her sticker, she can’t vote, and her future depends on what the rest of us decide.


We were sitting at the table together, eating, when Indigo looked up and saw the cantaloupe I’d cut into for our breakfast. “It’s Pac-Man!” she said. She finished her breakfast before I did, and I didn’t realize what she’d done afterwards until I got up to put my dishes in the dishwasher, and saw this.


Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann, your work has not been in vain.