sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 5, 2023

virtual advent tour 2023: day five
posted by soe 6:00 am

One handful of days down. Two more people’s worth to go.

For day five of our virtual Advent celebration, I present Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler performing “Home for the Holidays”:

See you tomorrow!

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December 4, 2023

virtual advent tour 2023: day 4
posted by soe 6:00 am

We survived (prepping for) our party! The tree is up, and most of our decorations are on it! Guests had fun!

So, now I can think about the fourth day of the Virtual Advent Tour. Here we have “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Robbie Williams featuring Jamie Cullum.

See you back here tomorrow!

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December 3, 2023

virtual advent tour 2023: day 3
posted by soe 5:55 am

Welcome back to the third day of Advent! Today is our tree-trimming party, so I thought it only appropriate to give you Los Straitjackets’ version of “Deck the Halls”:

Also, for your enjoyment, here’s an updated classic VAT post:

How to throw a Christmas party:

1. Set the date of the party sufficiently in advance. (Mine has been the second Sunday after Thanksgiving since I started throwing them for my college interns and my friends the year after I graduated college myself. Twenty-seven is considered sufficient.)

2. Invite guests early enough so that can fit your event into a busy holiday season. If you have essentially reserved a date for yourself for three decades, this can be slightly closer to the event … such as when repeat guests start asking when the invitation is going to arrive.

3. Begin to clean your home. Depending how often this occurs at other times of the year, it may be necessary to place this higher in your timeline. In my case, I ought to have started the day after my last party.

4. Procrastinate. Allow sufficient time for this. Consider starting a large and detailed and difficult-to-relocate project right in your main party space. You work better under a deadline, after all.

5. Clean some more in a haphazard fashion. Preferably stop one project partway through and leave it behind as if Mr. Clean has been swept through your living space by a hurricane.

6. Take a nap. Make some food. You need to keep up your strength after all.

7. Tackle a small part of the paper you ought to recycle the night before the final recycling is picked up before your party. By small, I mean a handful of envelopes. By night before, I mean 4 a.m.

8. Start to hit a frenzy. Of course you’ll get this all done! There’s plenty of time. By that, I mean two days. Almost.

9. Buy party supplies. In my case, this involves a tree, food, drinks, and paper products. Why does this grocery store not carry half the things you want? Are three bags of chips enough? Where, for the love of all things merry, is the vegan eggnog?!

10. Despair. Is it too late to uninvite all the guests 16 hours before the party is due to start? Or maybe just turn out all the lights and pretend not to be home?

11. Prioritize. A clean bathroom and a clean kitchen are important. People are willing to overlook dust, but they like a clean sink; remember, though, you can still lock yourself in the bathroom to do a spot clean after the first guests arrive.

12. Why have you never noticed all the cat fur and cat litter tracked all over the place? Oh, no, wait. You totally have. You just opted to overlook it.

13. Eat chocolate and drink tea. This will keep your mind off the fact that you have not left yourself enough time to sleep.

14. Stop to write a blog post. Because we all know that helps.

15. Tackle the biggest non-loud projects in the middle of the night. Then you can pretend your tears are from the strain, rather than the knowledge that you will not finish in time.

16. Get some sleep. Two hours is a nice amount for a long day ahead. You wouldn’t want to get groggy.

17. Calculate the time the stores open that sell the things you forgot or couldn’t find. Arrive as they unlock their doors.

18. Give up on prioritizing. Now you are just going to work on moving/hiding/minimizing the mess. Lacking a bedroom door and extensive closet space makes this a challenge.

19. Chuck papers into bags. Make sure you note which bag contains the important/recent papers because inevitably you will need it tomorrow. This stage is not unlike moving apartments, at least for me.

20. Pile everything on your bed.

21. Try to vacuum before your guests arrive. (This will not always happen.)

22. Try to be done cooking before your guests arrive. (This will rarely happen.)

23. Assume that any guest that arrives promptly at the time you’ve said your party begins is interested in helping you clean and cook. Otherwise, why would they be there already?

24. Have an absolutely wonderful time with your guests during your party. These people are your friends and they really don’t care if you forgot to get rid of those cobwebs you just noticed in a dark corner or if they have to eat home-cooked chili out of a chipped bowl … or a (clean) reused takeaway container.

25. After your last guest has left, collapse on your couch and admire your lovely clean party space. Because you’re never going to bed with all that crap on it.

(See you tomorrow sometime on the other side of 24.)

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December 2, 2023

virtual advent tour 2023: day 2
posted by soe 7:00 am

Welcome back for the second day of the Virtual Advent Tour. If you’d like to host a day on your blog, vlog, or Instagram, leave me a comment.

Enjoy today’s highly danceable holiday song, “Ring out the Bells” by Sarah Connor:

See you back here tomorrow, and enjoy your Saturday!

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December 1, 2023

virtual advent tour 2023: day 1
posted by soe 8:26 am

As you may remember, for the past eight years I’ve hosted the Virtual Advent Tour, which I took over from its original hosts, Marg and Kailana, who ran it for five.

I will not lie. For the last two years, participation has been way down and has depended heavily on a small handful of us, including Rudi and my best friend, Karen, (as well as guest posts from my parents) all of whom do it only to take some of the weight off of me. After last year, I was relatively certain that I was done. Even up until Thanksgiving, I thought it was just too much for this year.

But I still think there’s a place for a small moment of holiday respite before we start our respective days. A time for us to take a collective breath in and out and to remember what we love about this time of the year, before we make ourselves crazy trying to perform what we think needs to be done.

And that goes for me, too. So that means I’m going to host a Virtual Advent Tour this year. But it’s going to be small. I’m going to post a song. Maybe some days I’ll share other things as the mood and time allow. But I’m not going to expect more of myself than that.

If you want to take a day or two of the Tour to write something or share a photo or a song, I’m happy to have you along for the ride. Just leave me a note in the comments telling me what day you’d like to do that and I’ll send people your way. I’ll update this post just with the dates other people are claiming (for my own sake), but I’m not going to put up the whole month’s worth of dates. We’ll just assume that any date that’s not listed is mine.

December 8: Rudi
Dec. 13: Rudi
Dec. 19: Rudi

Let’s see if I can find the joy of this tradition that made me revive it in the first place.

Without further narrative, I present Lucille Ball’s 1974 rendition of “We Need a Little Christmas” from the movie version of Mame:

Without a doubt, Angela Lansbury, who originated and won a Tony for the titular musical role, is a better singer, so if you’d like to hear her Broadway version, I point you here.

See you back here tomorrow!

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home, team, and friends
posted by soe 1:56 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. After two months staying with my folks, I’m home. Corey is elated to see me.

2. Five of us go out after the volleyball game. It’s good to catch up on people’s lives over drinks and food.

3. Sarah and Susan make time to have lunch with me. They are kind in letting me talk pretty much non-stop.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

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