December 11, 2007 9:21 PM- antidote

Oh but I?m grinch-y.

Despite all the beauty surrounding me, despite all the wonder and joy around me, despite the love I receive in such full measure?I am grinchy. And what makes it worse is that I know I have absolutely no right to feel grinchy. No right at all. Which makes me feel worse.

You know what? Just writing that down made me feel better. Sometimes these things ricochet around in my head and when I put them down in black and white I see how utterly and completely bonkers I am. Writing has always helped me in this way.

It?s like there?s this demon in my head stirring up one bad thought, one bad feeling after another but if I trap them on the page they melt like the Wicked Witch of the West under a bucket of water. (Who, it turns out, may not have been so wicked?but that?s for another day).

So, now that I?m here I will tell you about all the marvelous photographs I don?t have for you.

? The photograph of me sitting here in the living room surrounded by three dogs amid a sea of writing binders and portfolios in varying stages of being graded while a fab mix cd (*see below) plays and I hear T?s voice coming up from his office where he is practicing with his guitar?he?s in a band (I know! Don?t ask!) He?s getting ready for their rehearsal tomorrow night. I?m wearing black ballet leggings (covered in dog hair) a white t-shirt and a blue hoodie. Outside it is pitch black and bitter cold. In here, I am barefoot due to the magical powers of our beloved ESSE.

? The photograph of me walking the dogs this morning out through the back woods, through the deep drifts of snow covered in a thin crust of crushed diamonds that sparkled as far as the eye could see in the bright sunshine. The air was crisp and sweet. Spiky green fir branches poked out from under their suits of snow?a veritable forest of Charlie Brown Christmas trees. And the dogs-- diving, bodysurfing, wading through the expanse like we would the ocean.

? The photograph last night as I unpacked the most delightful package from Jeanine that held bright blue elf boots, handmade baked dog biscuits, and FOUR mix cds*! (My god, is there anyone in the world who NEEDS mix cds more than me? I don?t think there could be?me = musically challenged)! All wrapped in the most artful, inspiring way. You WILL get a picture of this as you must share in the joy---

? Daisy nestling into Ollie for some love, tipping her head so that it curves across the back of his neck and falling asleep like that.

So what?s my problem? How can I be grinchy in the face of such blessings?

Part of it is that 6 students failed my class. Part of it is that 4 of those 6 plagiarized. This really bothers me. And, you know what? I really don?t like December.

Maybe if I lived in another part of the world?Brazil, perhaps, or Australia. Maybe then December would feel more like Spring?but wait, I hate Spring, too.

I have a friend who gives me a lot of grief for being ?Pollyanna,? as I can have a surfeit of positive energy at times. And, I know that this is the season of light. Of beauty of magic, and yet, it never feels that way to me.

When I need to lift my spirits (like these days) I don?t put on Christmas music (god forbid, but can I tell you I have a sister who starts playing NON-STOP her collection?her collection?of Christmas music in November--- I?m talking about someone related to me by blood-- genetics are so weird).

No?if I need to shift my emotions, I think of this scene I witnessed last September.

I was flying back from visiting my niece in Ohio (so granted, I was already a bit weepy) and waiting at my gate when this young woman rushes up to the gate next to mine. Her plane had already had its last call and the door had closed. The woman drops her suitcases and starts shrieking, ?no! no! no!? Her panic sets my heart racing. She is shouting and crying out in a thick accent?some kind of Eastern European language, not sure which Russian, maybe? She is freaking out. The desperation of her voice combined with her broken English and her cries of ?help me, somebody must help me.? Well, just as I went to go over to see if there was anything I could do (which I knew there wasn?t, I knew she was screwed)?four different people were at her side. Four. Different. People. All trying to help. All perfect strangers (the airline help was just standing by watching coldly?and I can understand that for them, this is a daily event), each reaching out to this woman. And, as I write this it probably doesn?t seem like much. But what I knew sitting there as I watched everyone around me follow the scene from their seats is that we ALL would have helped her. And to this day, when I think about that, my eyes well up and I get all mushy.

The only Christmas movie I love?it gets me mushy, too?is Frank Capra?s It?s A Wonderful Life. I know it?s sentimental schlock?but guess what, it gets me every time. Not that I like Mary?in fact, I hate Mary. I have always hated Mary. I hate that she trapped Jimmy Stewart (yes, I see that I know the actress by her character?s name and the actor by his real name?sue me). I hate that he had to live out his whole life in that stupid little town. I hate that he never got to travel. I hate his stupid kids and the stupid song his daughter plonks out on the piano?I hate that drafty, old house.

I hate it all.

But the terror that is financial stress--- the way it throws your whole life, your every decision into sharp, terrible relief--- I love how Capra captures that. And? The last scene where all the people who love Jimmy come together and their collective wealth washes away his worry--- it just cuts me off at the knees. Every. Damn. Time.

Speaking of movies?I have just seen two that I can?t wait to write up opines for because they are so utterly deserving of a great, wide audience. They are so beautiful.

I know this post is the lamest of the lame?but I had to try and break through this crazy headspace I am in if I am ever going to get back in the groove. And I want to be back in groove. I don?t want to be grinchy.

But, maybe I could give it to my friend as a Christmas present? Yes! Here you go, Daffodilly-- Pollyanna Goes Tranny as the Grinch.

got 2 cents?

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lynne says:
Well, I'm afraid I can't help you out much; not antidote here. Just wallow in it until your fingers get all pruney! (That's a take out of a line from French Kiss) I am bah humbug too ... At least you have snow on the ground. We only have freezing "stuff."
posted on: December 11

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DiaryofWhy says:
Not sure what an ESSE is, but I think I need one. Barefoot in December...now *that* is a charmed life.
posted on: December 11

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Amber says:
In defense of Mary, wasn't she the one who he trapped in a bush? Naked. I always thought that one of the points of the movie is that it was he who had trapped himself because of his sour and narrow outlook. Of course I could be wrong and I'm not one for picking bones with the fabulous BP :)
posted on: December 11

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Neil says:
I so rarely see you in a grouchy mood on your blog, that I sort of enjoyed seeing the contrast. Of course, that's because I know it won't last long. That sucks about your students!
posted on: December 11

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lizardek says:
What a drag about your students, but you know what? Their choice. You can only lead the horse to water. I've been semi-Grinchy lately, too, but so far, I think, at least semi-successfully hiding it. Does T's band have any recordings?
posted on: December 12

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wee says:
I can see your invisible photoographs as clearly as if I had snapped them myself. And I am just emerging from an serious bout of unreasonable grinchiness, brought on I suspect by two weeks of sinus pain and flu and the attendant stuck-at-homed-ness and in-my-head-ed-ness that often brings. but you know what? It's thoughts of Soliden that have been warming me out of it, thawing my miserly heart... musing upon what wintery wonders greet you when you look out the window and whether that hawk I saw screeching through the trees on my walk might be related to the one that perches so frequently over your vistas. And music. yup, that helps immensely! xoxoxo
posted on: December 12

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Jazz says:
I always get grinchy at this time of year too. I don't know why, but I'm totally incapable of getting excited about Christmas. It always feels like an imposition. Both aspects of it (the mercantile and the religious) just don't sit well with me.
posted on: December 12

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Sherry says:
Under the cloak of grinchiness I see a bold red and warm heart.
posted on: December 12

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Daffodilly says:
"Oh Pollyanna, Pollyanna where for art thou Pollyanna?" OK, I will share some of the precious english chocolate I received on Thursday! Can you wait until then?? Daffodilly
posted on: December 12

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Bridgemor says:
I would like to apologize to BP in advance if I sound like I am venting. I am grinchy this time of year, mostly because I absolutely hate Christmas, for all the comercial reasons you can think up. However this year is different. I discovered during Thanksgiving that my best friend of 30 years received a terminal diagnosis of colon cancer (3-6 months), and she's only 51. I thought to myself, she has the ultimate excuse to be grinchy, but she isn't. She is handling her situation with grace and humor, and I can say with assuridy she isn't in denial. She's out shopping for Christmas presents for her friends and family. Her attitude puts my grinchiness to shame. I honestly don't know where I'm going with this, but I think my point is, compared to her situation, things that make me hate this time of year and Christmas hugely pale in comparison and I feel thorougly rotten for even entertaining the idea of being in grinchiy mood. What gets me out of my mood is knowing I will get to spend Christmas with her and my family in Texas, and for that I can not be anything but greatful, even if I have to put up with greedy shoppers at the mall.
posted on: December 12

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bp says:
oh Bridgemor-- now worries. Trust me, I am very much aware of the travesty of my "grinchiness" and rather ashamed of myself-- but, c'est la guerre--- as for you and your friend, i send you love and blessings for a warm and tender holiday. I am so very sorry for the situation you are both facing-- and, since I've hijacked my own comments here, let me say AMBER, baby-- you can argue with me any day of the week-- I'll just put on my beautiful white handknit hat and tie the bright orange strings under my chin and won't be able to hear you at all-- ha.
posted on: December 12

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bohemiangirl says:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes it's so nice to have the words. Your post sans photos sent my imagination swirling. Pure loveliness. I was just looking for Christmas quotes prior to popping in and I found one that is so a propos. "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." Dr. Seuss Don't sweat the way you feel. You always have a well of magic within you and it will overflow over the next couple weeks. You walk your dogs with more spirit than most people go Christmas shopping and that, my dear, is what it's all about if ya ask me. PS. Glad you like the cds
posted on: December 13

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Sam says:
It seems as though lots of my darling bloggy friends are having a hard time feeling the Christmas spirit - and that's okay. I think there's a huge backlash against all the commercialism - and then there's only so much time to construct a homey, handmade sort of Christmas - we have this ideal in our head and the day never seems to end up that way, it seems. It's 80 degrees here, so it's a bit like Christmas in Australia - I'm slowly pulling out decorations and coming up with ideas - and if only my checkbook were as rich as my heart! Oh, the shopping (on etsy, nonetheless) I could do. As for us, I do plan on taking Christmas rather easy. At least that's my hope. We'll see what happens. To help you get out of the grinch mood, I shall send you a very special present, one of Thomas' deep belly guffaws, all wrapped up with a red bow.
posted on: December 13

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violetismycolor says:
Yes, yes, the grinchy-ness of those of us who really already have it all...doesn't it just drive you to levels of guilt you never dreamt possible. Hey, me too. I could just kick myself sometimes... But It's a Wonderful Life! It is my all time fave Xmas movie, too...
posted on: December 13

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Vanessa says:
I have never posted on your blog, but today I felt a strong connection to what you wrote. I am a TA in grad school and my eyes are glazed and burning from grading finals. From reading your blog in the past, I had a hunch you might be in the same place and for some strange reason, knowing that you are across the country doing the same thing I'm doing (despite the fact that many of my friends are only miles away doing the same thing) gives me a sense of cohesion. It is hard to explain to people that my holiday-season-mood hinges on how well my students grasp the impact of the Cold War, but I feel so much better that you (as a total stranger) would understand. Thank you for the lovely portrait you painted with you vivid and warm words.
posted on: December 13

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Lianne says:
I have been a crappy blog commenter the last few weeks, but I am just writing to tell you I love you still and your blog. Please have a blessed Christmas holiday and know I'll be back in the New Year.
posted on: December 13

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Laini says:
Sorry to hear about your students -- that would be very disheartening! Plagiarizing!!! The "snapshots" of your life are delightful, though. I am jealous of your snow. I hope we get a good snow this year. Last year was the most perfect snow we've had in the 7 years we've lived here and I have my fingers crossed for it. As for December, I'm usually a big fan of it myself, but this year I have been a little trapped by work and not getting to do all the Decembry stuff I like to do. and I do love Wonderful Life, but I know what you mean -- about George being trapped. So unfair!
posted on: December 14

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endment says:
as always your words come close to home you speak of things known personally in language that doesn't come to the surface for me. Yet somehow i always leave my visit to your blog with renewed courage and a smile on my face - thank you
posted on: December 14

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Pippa says:
Oh BP, you have no idea how much I appreciate your candour in sharing your grinchiness. I thought I was going crazy feeling like this when there are so many reasons to be happy in this season ~ including the lovely summer heat here. You give me the freedom to vent a little bit as well. Blogging is about being human, after all. Here is a wordless hug from a fellow-grinch... {HHH}
posted on: December 14

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