i've become so very festive. i decked out the mantle and the front porch with garlands. i've been burning christmas-scented candles every night, though normally i'm not much of a candle-burner and aleksander wants to blow them all out anyway. i'm feeling so very sentimental about the holidays, even though we're atheists. i can't help but love family and warmth brought indoors during the winter. i can't help but adore the magic of transforming a time so desolate and dark into a time full of life and light. the juxtaposition is essential for me. it will get me through the winter, and is, i think, even more essential now due to my highly emotional and volatile state. but regardless, i have gone a bit nuts. a friend's mother embroidered a stocking for aleksander a couple of years ago, and when i pulled out the holiday box, i discovered that it was the only stocking we had. so i went out and bought three more (one extra for the new baby) and embroidered jon and i's names on two of them. i also got the aforementioned christmas-scented candles. i did what is so appropriate for american's to do at this time of year - i spent lots of money for almost no reason at all. unfortunately, it did make me feel better. the tree, we saw earlier, here's the mantle...


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