Friday, December 23, 2011


What a time we've had over the late fall and early winter. It seems there's been quite a bit of working, traveling, jogging, juggling, balancing, grieving, rejoicing...and an awful lot of cutting going on lately.

Making the Cut

Thanks to the generosity of my parents, who agreed to occupy (read: snuggle and spoil!) our son, the Grants and the Bus Crew were able to run one of our favorite winter races a few weekends back. I really do love the Mistletoe 5K! The route winds its way through our own neighborhood, plus it's hard to beat the sights of people running in reindeer antlers and jingle bells. And it was such a clear, cold morning, which makes for great running weather. I'm certainly not all the way back into running shape, but I did manage to beat my own self-imposed time cut, and that felt invigorating as we move toward 2012...

Cutting Down the Christmas Tree

As Fischer grows older, I hope to renew our tradition of heading west and cutting down our Christmas tree at a tree farm along some snowy ridge in the North Carolina mountains. But for the past two seasons (early pregnancy haze in 2010 and infant son logistics in 2011), the very nice guys at Rash's Tree Patch have cut our Christmas tree for us. And this year we bought our first tree as a family of three, you know! The addition of the ornaments and lights has Fischer completely mesmerized...

Cutting for Stone

One of the (many) cool aspects of having a book club is creating new traditions together. Last year, we celebrated the holiday season with a cookie swap (my first!), and it took no time at all to decide we'd love for that delicious tradition to continue. Although this year's cookie swap was put on hold until the New Year, we've already chosen our first new book for 2012, Cutting for Stone. I can hardly wait to start few things I love more than a good book!

Cutting a Tooth

Two nights ago, Erich and I had the pleasure of hosting Argus (his band) & Co. for a practice in our own living room! Prior to their wonderful show last night with Small Town Gossip at the Community Arts Cafe' in Downtown Winston, the guys and their families got together to reminisce with a side of jam. Noisy fun with guitars, singing, laughter, and even babies cooing makes for wonderful memories, especially here at Christmastime. Arabelle was so inspired that she rolled over for the first (and second and third and fourth!) time. Not to be outdone, Fischer cut his first tooth! So surreal to feel that tiny razor-sharp edge along his soft little gumline. Sweet boy...

The Deepest Cut

It's been well over a year since I wrote of my friendship with Starnes and our multi-faceted adventures Shaking & Baking together. I quoted Kahlil Gibran back then, and it (of course) remains true: "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." And so it was with the deepest of sorrow that we sent the beloved Mayor, her father, to his final resting place just over two weeks ago. If you know us at all, you might have guessed that we somehow found each other just before his funeral service to share a wordless fist bump. Which was my way of sending her on to deliver his eulogy, now maybe my favorite oration of all time. I mean, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Winston Churchill were pretty good...but they didn't know Charlie Fish. The sorrow, it's really very deep. And so I look forward to all the joy we'll be able to contain in time.

Cut (& Paste)

Lastly, I'm always so inspired by Kristin Armstrong's writing. I've often said that while Lance is kinda fast on a bike (legitimacy to be determined), she is by far my favorite Armstrong. Her words are simple, profound, and (for me) so often right on target. Her Christmas entry this past week was, as usual, a delight for me to read, and so I've decided to share it here, too:

Some holiday hints from Kristin Claus...
Do not count calories. Do not wear a watch. Try doing what other people feel like doing rather than being compelled to always make the plan. Stay in pj's as long as possible each day. Getting coffee, bagels, donuts or tacos in pajamas is not only socially acceptable, it's encouraged. Get down and look at your children when they talk to you. Or if they are getting taller than you these days, look up. Make eye contact. Cook someone's favorite meal. Or cook your favorite and invite people over. Sit by the fire and leave your cell phone in another room. Watch Christmas Vacation. Make pancakes with holiday M&M's in them. Go for a walk if you have a houseful of different ages. Turn all the lights out but the tree and sit there, at least once, late at night and recall what you are grateful for. Try to make peace with (instead of sense of) the things you don't feel as grateful for. It's not a hassle to make a fire in the fireplace, it's an invitation. Pet your dog, especially right behind the ears the way they like it. When you grab your last minute stocking stuffers from the drugstore (admit it, I'll see you there), pick up a couple scarves, socks, or fleece blankets to hand out to homeless people when you drive by – let your kids do the honors and feel warm inside. Think of someone you know (maybe not even very well) who has had a tough year this year and pick up the phone or put pen to paper and wish them a happier new year. Let the kids frost the cookies, trash the kitchen and get high on icing. The people who bug you are in your life for a reason, you may as well love them because they have something to teach you. Don't assume people know you love them, be clear. Make love to your love, you are not allowed to be too tired, busy or grinchy. You are not too old or jaded to believe in magic.

Everything you need is right here – want what you have.
~ Kristin Armstrong