Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday 13: My Holiday List

With two exceptions that occurred many years ago, I love Christmas. I love giving gifts, baking cookies, dropping off little christmas tree cakes to my neighbors, smelling evergreen pine all around me, our Christmas eve tradition with Mike and Clara and Dani and the most precious sleepover here with Jess and Mike. I love the thought that goes into my Christmas stocking, the same Christmas morning breakfast we have had for 25 years, our holiday party when we invite everyone we know from all walks of life. I love the fact that sooner or later I will slow down and realize I am very lucky.

I can tell you what I don't love in just a few words: i hate shopping at malls, I hate packing and mailing all the presents that must go to Colorado Springs and Seattle and Tucson. I hate that I fight the clock to find any semblance of rhythm and slowing down. I hate that the world is so violent. I hate that any child wakes up on Christmas morning without loving parents and presents under a tree.

Here's my holiday list. I hope I get everything I need.

1. Baby Ryan: I hope you come into the world perfect in every way. I know your parents will feel love they cannot even imagine as soon as they see and smell you. I am planning breakfast menus of m & m's and ice cream for when you are older.

2. I hope a publisher picks up this novel I have just finished and I am paid a sufficient advance so I can get it written to an A or A- level within 3-4 months.

3. I hope Ces and I do more words and colors together.

4. Godess Santa: could you help me figure out the role of money in our lives? I know we're not waiting for some far away future to live our lives and live generously but can I really believe in abundance? And do I need to supplement my writing with a day job?

5. I hope jb shines the nightlight in the magic cottage exactly the way she wants to and I will be lucky enough to see and swoon over her fantastic artwork.

6. May I (finally) decide if the tough-love approach of my book agent is good for me or move on and out to someone else who understands I am more delicate than meets the eye.

7. Sign me up for a photography course.

8. I pray the Iraqi people are given the support they need to rebuild their country and live in peace, after my country destroyed their homeland for all the wrong reasons.

9. Please transport me to Weight Watchers and Pilates and get me in shape for once and for all. In my heart, I am too cute to be anything but.

10. Protect my family and friends from anyone and anything that does not help them prosper.

11. I hope for a personal shopper who will stack my closet with the coolest most fashionable clothes.

12. Godess Santa: I would also like someone nearby who can play the guitar so I can host an occasional sing a-long in my living room.

13. I want a flow, a rhythm, a guiding force that helps me live without so many jolts and jagged edges. I don't expect this all the time but I'll be thankful for a little predictable rhythm that governs my days.

And how about you? I'd love to see your holiday list. The singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter says,
"It's too much to expect, but it's not too much to ask"


  1. #7 May I join you?

    #8 I do the same. You know the song “Grown Up Christmas list?” One day I believe with all the prayers there’ll be
    “No more lives torn apart
    That wars will never start
    And time will heal our hearts
    Every man will have a friend
    That right will always win
    And love will never end”

    #9 In my head, I’m a great singer…

    #10 Ditto

    #11 Where do I fill up an application?

  2. I'd like vacation days and money enough to travel the world for a year.

    And can I borrow your personal shopper once in a while?

  3. A beautiful Thursday 13 list KJ. it just shows that even when asking things for yourself you still think of others. Your generosity shines through. I can see you truly love Christmas. That is so wonderful. I love the memory of all my childhood Christmases when even I as a kid looked forward to Christmas Day not because of the presents (because we did not have many presents) but because I will be allowed to stay up as late as I can tolerate.

    I love to imagine your family having a great time on Christmas day and your beautiful house with bright yellow walls welcoming your friends and guests with the aroma of Christmas in the air.

    I hope you get everything on your list, indeed, including peace in Iraq and the safe return of our soldiers.

    Too long America has policed the world. We always come to everybody's rescue at the expense of our own citizens. Let countries take responsibility for their own shortcomings, let citizens of countries topple their own dictators and let them create their own martyrs. For too long Americans have shed the blood of their sons and daughters in wars liberating countries from opression. It is a new generation, we have seen successes of People Power. Let those countries rise above their own turmoil, let them take responsibility for their own actions and inactions, their own apathy, ignorance and fear. Let them have their own Patrick Henry declaring "Give me liberty or give me death."

    I am looking forward to making more words and colors with you.

  4. maria: yes you can join me! you could teach the course! i like the poem very much. thank you alot.

    liz: a year around the world. ahhh. alex would love it, btw!

    ces: staying up as late as you can tolerate: what could be better?! thanks for thinking i am generous.

    i like your analysis for peace,ces. i agree with most of it. (except, you won't be surprised to know, i do not think my country invaded iraq to liberate its people. i wish it were so, i wish it had been so. my heart goes out to those families who cannot even cross the street without risking their lives. and to our soldiers and their families. what a mess.)

    oh, now why did i say that to my good friend? honestly, i am incorrigible. this is why i was so often in high school detention.

    maybe dialogue among friends is good even if it's hard....

  5. You know, I should not really let my political opinions interfere with one's Christmas wish. So will you please delete my post or I can delete it myself.

  6. I am so with you on number 13. And I'm looking forward to another hootenany come march!

  7. Oh, I love this, KJ!! Your heart is so big and beautiful and warm and I love it! I'll join in the 13 in a day or two ... xoxo

  8. As a veteran of Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq...over these last few months...I've wondered to myself, "Is it possible to reduce the amount of hatred and violence in our world?"

    Last week, before going to sleep, I began asking myself a lot of WHAT IF questions.

    The central theme behind my thoughts are neither anti-war or pro-religion. My words are not meant to inspire scenes of flag-burning or political protest signs. Sadly, I realize that sometimes a lasting Peace means war.

    However, unless someone and everyone start talking about the idea of Peace...

    Even if it's just for two short minutes...

    It's possible that an unstoppable firestorm of hatred may one day burn its way across our entire planet.

    Instead of pointing out those differences which separate mankind...

    It's my hope that the humanity within all of us will somehow prevail...

    Even if it's JUST FOR TWO SHORT MINUTES...

    See link:

    If you write a passage about what the PEACE means to you, I'll build a simple BLOG page featuring your words and original images…

  9. Lovely. Sorry I don't have time to say more right now, but lovely. And you finished it three days early?

  10. kj,

    great list. i hope you get all (or most) of it.

    i found #9 so funny yet so true. i kind of feel like that sometimes, only about my age. i feel like i'll stay stuck at 25 inside.

    and personal shopper? as long as maria and i are here, you won't have a problem.

  11. note from kj: i haven't deleted the anonymous comment above because its message is about peace. i figure that kind of talk can never hurt.

  12. Our country is trying to help their country rebuild with a government and not a dictator. Our service men and women are not destroying Iraq. They are infact building buildings like schools and hospitals for the people. It is too bad that our countries new media does not cover that story, or any positive thing. If you talk to the people who are doing the construction for the people or Iraq, maybe you would change your mind.

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  14. #1 made me cry! I love that he's Ryan--it's my brother's name--watch out! All the Ryans in my life are big handfuls :)

    I'll join in on #7 with you! My Christmas wish is to pool some $$ for a new camera.

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  17. Hello. Prompt how to get acquainted with the girl it to me to like. But does not know about it
    I have read through one history
    Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

    People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

    A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

    ". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

    "And now it's really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

    "When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

    "I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

    For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing