Have you ever had one of those weeks? I don't need to ask; of course you have. And December is the worst for being busy, racing, living by lists, having too much to do and too little time to do it.
Mr AJ (Peter Kneale Solicitor) has an exam on January 6th. It's about Roman Law and he has me typing up revision notes. For the past two weeks I have been over familiar with the paterfamilias, with the law on legacy, inheritance, the potestas, the ius civile and all sorts of obscure things that I never thought I'd need to know about. I don't need to know about them, truly, but I type slowly and one word at a time, the same way I read, and so typing becomes a form of learning, because I have to read and make sense of it as well as just follow his voice.
Add to that a family still heart-broken over the death of a cute guinea pig; a solicitor's firm still wondering what government changes will do to our business and those across the country; and teenage children suffering from existential strife and we have enough on our plate.
And it's Christmas time. I find myself behind again on the lists I so carefully wrote in advance in September (1. Complete the craft presents by November 15th. 2. Write and post cards by Dec 10th 3. Book a delivery slot for grocery order.... as if)
My 12 days of Christmas person will be getting her parcel early next week, my card swap people (I ended up in about 3 this year) haven't been sent off yet, reading blogs has been a distant memory and my house... oh God my house... has had Christmas layered over the dust, rather than the Annual Christmas Clean happening before I decorated. I am slobbing it this year, and no apologies.
I think that may be my mantra for 2017. No apologies. I am what I am, and if you don't like it, tough. I've cut most of my self-imposed obligations down to none this year. I don't need to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone for anybody except myself. I love carol services, so I will go to the children's services at Liverpool Cathedral because them I can sing loudly for all to hear. I love baking, so I will make a stollen and some mince pie cupcakes. I don't like making a fruitcake, but I like decorating it, so I have bought a cheap fruitcake and some blue icing to make the design I saw in a magazine last year.. or the year before.
My parents are coming to me this year, because I actually love Christmas at home. Even if they weren't, I'd be doing Christmas at home because I am tired of the massive (25) person Christmas that last year saw me eating my whole dinner off a plate balanced precariously on my stomach since there was no room at the table. That was pudding course as well, BTW.
And when my copy of the Radio Times finally appears (we subscribe, and subscribers get their copy last, it seems) I shall sit with my highlighter and underline all the things that I want to watch. And no apologies for what floats my boat.
Lordy, I am sounding assertive at last. I hope to be able to grab time between now and the end of the year to look back and forward and set goals for 2017. And to reflect on what I have achieved and what has been lost. But time has a habit of slipping past, as we know..... if I don't make it here again, then I'll wish you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas and a contented and prosperous New Year.