Monday, December 22, 2014

Bah, Humblog! And the Seasonal Wisdom of Doctor Who

Let's not kid ourselves. This time of year can be our most joyous, but for most of us, the lead-up to a splashy Christmas and party-hearty New Year can be the most stress ridden and difficult part of the season. A lot of you are nodding in sisterly and justifiably cynical agreement, but there's always some Perfectly and Perpetually Poised Pollyanna who (with humiliating accuracy) reminds me that stress is a construct of my own response to internal or external forces that affect my life, self-imposed and over which I have complete control.

To her, I reply "Bah-Freakity-Humbug, and please go peddle your superhuman self-control and serenity somewhere else, girly! I'm doing the best I can with what I got."

I'm not good at managing my pre-Christmas angst. It's always our slowest time of year at our restaurant as we're so deep in the hinterlands and 40 miles away from any Christmas shopping areas. One eats where one shops, and we fall off everyone's radar. I get it, but knowledge aforehand doesn't make the annually inevitable financial pinch any easier to manage. And every year, there's some treat from the Universe that makes it all just a tiny bit more difficult. This December, Dan blew up his car ... I gave him mine to use and one of its fairly new tires promptly disintegrated on his way to work. That got fixed, but the process meant we had to be closed for half-day of much needed income. The good news was that the tire warranty netted a prorated refund of half the purchase price of the blown tire. The bad news was that three days later, the breaks on the car noisily and dangerously insisted on being replaced, at just over twice the cost of the tire refund.

But we and the car are safe and operational, so (knock on wood) it's probable the seasonal worst is over. I'm breathing again, keeping fingers and toes crossed that no more mini-disasters befall us and that just a little business will come our way. Both seem possible as the holiday proper nears, and we will be able to enjoy two rare, whole days off in a row together ... with food, drink, prezzies, movies, books and a family tradition, this year's Doctor Who Christmas episode!

In the midst of this week's automotive and business drama, I remembered my favorite modern holiday quote; it's from the 2010 "A Christmas Carol," a Whovian intragalactic re-imagining of Scrooge's transformation through the power of love and the Christmas spirit. The Scrooge-esqe, deeply cynical, old rich guy, Kazran Sardick, says:

"On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, "Well done. Well done, everyone! We're halfway out of the dark." Back on Earth we call this Christmas. Or the Winter Solstice. On this world, the first settlers called it The Crystal Feast. You know what I call it? I call it expecting something for nothing! "

I certainly don't agree with his assessment of charity, loving kindness and generosity of spirit, but I was struck by the idea of being "halfway out of the dark" because that's how it feels to me so often.  I love of a lot of things about winter, but there is an undeniably strong, genetically hard-wired urge within all of us to draw nearer to the bonfire or the hearth fire, not just for warmth, but for the protection the fire light brings from all the dangers that lurk beyond in the dark. Our ancient ancestors had different things to fear, but even today we are wary of what may be waiting for us in the dark.

We still have to travel the rest of the way through an often harsh and sometimes frightening and destructive season.
I've always loved the Solstice especially because at that balance point, we begin the second half of the journey back into the light. Also implicit in Sardick's statement is the reminder that although we may pause and celebrate our triumph over the dark and the revisit the hope of more gentle seasons to come, there is still a way to go. But so far, so good.

So, sometime during the Christmas Eve Mexican dinner Dan and I will have, or during the Chinese Take-Out Christmas Day-all-day-feast, we'll pause and raise our glasses and send our good wishes into the aethers with a delicate clink to sound their coming. Our toast will be the words of Doctor Who himself; "Yeah. Christmas. Halfway out of the dark," because we know that in the second half of winter, the light becomes just a little brighter every day.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Christmas and Boxing Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Pancha Ganapati, HumanLight, Newtonmas or Festivus, I send you all big, smothery cyber-hugs with my best wishes that you enjoy ...


Linking up with the wonderful Maricel at Tardis Tuesday! over at her always interesting site, My Closet Catalogue .  What a great Whovian Idea!


  1. Enjoy your Halfway Out of the Dark, Jan. I promise not to be smug as it also means we are halfway through Summer. Sorry about your car trouble, why is it that everything happens at the most in appropriate times.
    Raising my glass to you, Merry Christmas, Jan.

  2. Jan, you say it well, just as always. These gray days drive me absolutely nuts. Okay, in my effort to flee them, I've been soundly punished. I'm just days away from a month of work in Florida and guess what reared its ugly head? One of my FRONT TEETH is in want of a root canal. (Have I mentioned that the one right next to it begged the same favor not even 6 months ago?) Not exactly what I wanted for Christmas, but it looks like that's what I'll be getting anyway. And I'll be glad for it, since I'd hate to have it act up while I'm away from home.

    This earth-bound life we lead lacks a certain perfection that I yearn for! Love the outfit, love your hair, love the writing--so beautifully said. Happy Holidays, Jan!

  3. I am so very happy we have passed the half-way mark. There is nothing quite as depressing as losing daylight every day until it barely seems we are squeezing out five or six hours a day. Heading back into the light gives me hope that Spring will come, even though winter hasn't truly hit yet.

    Loved your writing here.

    Have a wonderful well deserved 2 days off. Happy holidays!


  4. That's my sentiments on passing the Solstice, too. I'm sure I can see a difference already.
    Trade seems very slow all over, our sales for December weren't up to the usual standard either. So sad people go for the easy option, dining out closer to home or buying mass produced stuff. Here's to a better 2015.
    Have a fantastic festive season. Stay fabulous. xxx

  5. Bravo, Jan. A well written, thought provoking post here topped off by a stunning outfit...the icing on the blog cake.

    Happy Holidays to you and Dan as well, or as they say on my side of the pond...Bonne Fetes!

  6. Can't wait for the daylight! Luckily we haven't had a real winter yet, no snow and no freezing temperatures.
    Merry Christmas to you!
    Annette | Lady of Style

  7. I love your sentiments dear Jan and I hope good things for your car and restaurant. Love your Missyesque outfit!!! Right I must remember to link too!x

  8. You're so funny my dear! One of the things I like that Pollyanna said was, "If you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will." or was that Abraham Lincoln? ;-)

    I'm glad summer's on the way!

    I leave you with the words of Tiny Tim ...

    God bless us, everyone!!
    ♥ carmen

  9. Marry Christmas, dear Jan!
    Have a great time and much fun!.
    Midwinter's over now and Balder brings back the light.

  10. Oh gorgeous Jan and darling Dan - wishing you a very happy Christmas (or solstice), keep moving toward the light, and the winter, the car troubles, and financial dips will pass. Honest! Take care, you lovelies! xxx

  11. I know the feeling. Our school has a midwinter festival and I always feel better for it! Of course, you've just reminded me that we are now getting darker again...thanks for that! :-/ Still, the world keeps on turning, turning and it all moves on again. I am greatful to still be here to see it all :-D
    Have a beautiful celebration feast, some lovely food and drink, and two whole days off in a row!!!! xo JJ

  12. Happy Holidays to you as well! Good advice from Dr. Who. These early nights drain me so awful.

  13. Oh my on your car troubles! I am glad no one is hurt. Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy your Mexican or Chinese food :)


  14. Wishing you and your family a bright and Merry Christmas, Jan! Cheers! xo

  15. Jan and Dan, sending both of you our Cyber Hugs as well. Cozying up by a fire with a good book, (which one are you opening) a movie, and one another sounds absolutely dreamy.
    By the way, I totally used your phrase "Bah-Freakity Humbug and go peddle your super human self-control somewhere else today" at the shopping mall several times (under my breath that is), although at times I was ready to scream it loud and clear. It just made me smile even to say it. Sure do love ya! Enjoy the two days in a row, you two.

  16. Yeah, for doing the holidays your way, except for the car(s). Us too. We're making spring rolls and apple pie (2 of our favs) for X-mas day. Never do decorations, shop for gifts, send cards, and especially no X-mas music!!! Love Dr. Who and your badass holiday card/ ensemble.

  17. Love the festive all black outfit, Jan.

    ☆:*´¨`*:.☆(¯`*•.¸,¤°´Merry Christmas, Jan`°¤,¸.•*´¯)☆:*´¨`**:.☆


  18. Happy Holidays, Jan! Lots of light to you and your dear husband! You look gorgeous, as always! We went to see Christmas Rebel in Tacoma which was all about light and darkness, and it was funny and touching, beautiful and very moving. I love to see how people around the world celebrate the darkest time of year with lots of ligh. xxx

  19. VersatilestylebytraceyDecember 24, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    The rain for the past few days doesn't help "the dark"...Merry Christmas! You've made it through yet another year of that cyclical slow down and better days are coming...I spent less this holiday to save for a down payment for my husband to get a new to him car.. His 2001 15 passenger van that he's taken such good care of needs a break and should not be his main work vehicle due to it's age and more expense with gas... So glad we made it through with just his door lock messing up, which meant he had to climb through to passengers side.. Not so good when running appointments and getting in and out several times a day... messed up his hip.. So right after the holiday, going to remedy that! Hoping January brings things back to normal for the restaurant, and of course then comes Valentine's Day...

  20. I think I heard you say on my blog that you have had rather a good day at the restaurant. Hurray for that. I so hope these Christmas days are going to be lovely for you and Dan. And don't believe gor one minute that those

  21. Aww I love that ... halfway out of the dark. This is my first Christmas without my mom and I do feel like it's a rite of passage .... getting through this special holiday that she so loved without her. Hubby and I will be enjoying a homebody day with Chinese takeout as well! Now if he would only wake up so I could open my presents! ;) Wishing you all the best, dear Jan! Such a wise soul, a great wit, and a on point fashionista!


    Dawn Lucy

  22. Ahhh, what a fantastic fashion holiday card!! Hope your holiday is fantastic. You work hard enough for it, enjoy!!

    Love your haircut and that edgy jacket!

  23. The thought of having more and more light in the second part of the winter make me feel so well!
    A very Merry Christmas, Jan!
    So nice card...

  24. merry christmas or happy holidays or happy festivities or whatever!!
    I usually refuse to get involved in all that consumerist whirl, but I don't have anything against celebrations, and indulge ourselves with food and champagne to celebrate we're alive in the bleak midwinter!!

  25. Northern mum down SouthDecember 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    Big, smothery cyber-hugs back to you Jan. Hope you enjoyed the Dr Who Christmas episode. Best wishes for the coming year as we head into the light xx

  26. Shelley@forestcityfashionistaDecember 26, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Yes, I like the "half-way out of the dark" idea! I don't really celebrate Christmas, having no family close by, but I do have dinner with friends on "the Day" and we had Mexican this year. I am fortunate to have at least a week off of work that is paid, and I know when you are running your own business, you don't get that luxury. I'm sorry to hear about the car issues - that kind of thing always ramps up the stress level (and those "pollyanna people" rankle me too). I hope you had a happy holiday nonetheless.

  27. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life dear Jan! It's so true that the year hasn't been all good to many of us but we can only hope for better soon. Have a precious time with your loved ones over this festive season.

  28. As always, I have spent the minutes reading your blog smiling and nodding my head. Pitch perfect insights and delightfully witty writing are always in store for readers of your blog, dear Jan. I'm wishing you ever brighter days and hungry customers. Love and hugs!

  29. I'm convinced I have gremlins. Last night; a headlight went out. Seriously!!!
    Thank you, Jilly, for the cyber toast ... every little bit helps!

  30. Poor baby! Hope your poor tooth is better now, and that all was resolved in time for you to have all your holiday goodies!
    Glad you enjoyed this sort of morose post ... I really meant it to carry a positive note, and I hope that came across. Hope the rest of the holidays find you in a less painful place!

  31. Thank you, lovely Suzanne! I'm confident this finds you two kids rocking the holiday rounds in your most amazing style! Thank you for reading and for your good wished!

  32. Thank you for getting it, Vix ... hope your holidays continue to improve, and so happy you have Goa to look forward to ( selfishly, I'm looking forward to your photos and travel journal ... your images from last year are still fresh in my memory ... excellent posts!)
    We had two tables last night ... arrrrgh. And I have a headlight out on my poor little car! I MUST have a gremlin infestation. Really, it can only get better!
    I'm joining you in your wish for a better 2015!

  33. I am always happy when the Solstice has passed precisely because the days start to get longer. Hope you had a wonderful two days of Relaxmas

  34. Hi Jan, hope your had a lovely Christmas. I also leave my Christmas shopping till the last minute and then its rush, rush, rush to get everyone something. Great outfit, beautiful jacket. xo

  35. Merry Christmas Jan! And Happy New Year to you too - looking forward to seeing what you get up to stylistically and otherwise in 2015 xx

  36. I'm just now playing catch-up. You already know I had no Christmas. I hear you about drawing into the light. Saturn is moving, so strap in and pay attention to the house it occupies in your chart. It will be all right, because it's already been all wrong >:-<
    You look so badass in all black! You know just how to wear it, mixing textures and keeping the silhouettes crisp. I'm always happy to look in on you and for your unwavering support.
    Happy 2015!


  37. Didn't know you ran a restaurant - sounds stressful, and yes, you are allowed to say bah hamburg about christmas! Glad to hear that the car issues were eventually sorted out, I hope the restaurant business kicks up soon. I celebrate christmas and think its a wonderful holiday, however, Im a 100% put-off by the consumerist attitude that it has here in america, an attitude i see spreading across the world in a negative manner.

    Wonderful writing as always!

  38. wow, must have been a difficult time for you with all that car trouble. I hope the restaurant goes better now that the christmas time is over or maybe with all the new year's resolutions people don't go out for dinner? I hope for the best!! I do love your look though! The skirt is similar to my season savior skirt and that leather jacket looks awesome on you! The all black suits you so well and I still adore your very nice short hair cut!!


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