Thursday, January 10, 2008


I am stunned
by the evocation
of a smell.
The equation
of a moment in time:
Cat pee, a baby's head, the smoke
Of a campfire.
The musty smell of a vacation blanket.
An entire world,
Like a hologram,
called forth.
No photograph can pull memories
so clearly,
so fully fleshed
For the olafactory is buried
in the base of the brain.
Where we begin,
before emotion
is fully formed.

I am packing up the holidays again. I am not quite ready to say goodbye and buckle down to the part of winter that proves how tough I am, the grey part, the seasonal affective depression part. A grueling work schedule which had me in my "office" by 7:30 am most mornings over the kids entire winter break meant a lot of cut corners. I never really sat looking at the tree, squinting at the lights and inhaling the pine smell. The scent of balsam wafts through the whole house and it will sure get a jolt on Saturday when I yank it out through the halls and onto the parkway for recycling. I always leave the needles a little too long-- a tribute to my slovenly housekeeping skills, but a little reminder that, yes, I did the holiday essentials: tree, menorah, cookies, latkes, family, friends. I read all the stories I always read. We did all the things we had to do, the ones we "always do". Those smells of sugar and oil and chocolate and roasts and eggnog all layered into my brain for another year. And now its time to pack it all up in plastic cubes and take it to the attic for another layer of dust and squirrel footprints, the fine patina of my organizer boxes.

I can wax nostalgic at this point because I finished my holiday camp, and I have had some sleep.

But in the middle of it, I wasn't so peaceful:
This from my diary---
Christmas 2007
This year, I gave in to the holidays. More accurately, I gave up. Face it: its going to be chaotic, stressful and fattening. I wanted to, at some point, kill every single member of my family. I stood in a semi-darkened room way too late at night, cupping a glass of something with a kick, surrounded by the flotsam of a project totally overdue (whether thats the 42 dozen cookies I was supposed to bake for the teachers, the postman,the soccer coach or wrapping the nephews gifts which I will now need to spend a fortune Fed Exing because I have missed every possible shipping deadline) I will gain at least 5 pounds unless I get the stomach flu or food poisoning, which has happened 2 years out of the last 15.
Add I will do it all again next year. In fact, I will look forward to it.

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