a Spanish moss draped tree

… Florida. Land of Spanish moss. Not quite as beautiful as sparkling little lights glowing in the snow, but definitely appealing in its own way.

I’ve been in Florida long enough that warm weather for Christmas doesn’t faze me, and it’s felt very holiday-ish here. I spent today wrapping presents and listening to Christmas carols — IHeartRadio has definitely got the holiday thing figured out a lot better than Amazon Music, whose stations sorta seem to miss the point — and doing a little shopping.

Yesterday I actually wandered around a shopping mall. I even bought a couple presents there. But I was mostly there for the mood, for the experience. Shopping at Christmas time. It was fun, very glittery and with excellent people watching. Also good window shopping.

I like to look at the dresses and try to imagine at what event they should be worn. My own life would have to change quite a lot to wear anything seen in a shop window, but there was a terrific bright pink dress with cut-outs around the neck that would be an excellent thing to wear to a divorce hearing. Hmm, maybe Grace could wear it somewhere. Not that she’s getting divorced, but it is the style I imagine her pulling off with aplomb — bold and attention-getting, but also fun. I should have taken a picture. Another dress looked like an oil slick on a cut-up garbage bag — no one should ever wear it, anywhere. Or maybe the only place it could be worn is on the fashion runway.

Day before yesterday was what will probably be my most holiday event of the year — the lighting of the neighborhood trees, accompanied by a brass band; a horse-drawn carriage down the main street; a live Nativity scene including a baby, two lambs, and a donkey; caroling and hot chocolate in one room; a musical duo with the big Christmas tree in another. It reminded me of years gone by, of Christmases when R was young. We used to come to Florida for Christmas — we didn’t live here then — and wander around the fancy hotels, admiring the trees. Florida goes pretty crazy with the lights, at least compared to the places we lived in California, but it always felt a little weird to me because the weather, of course, felt almost tropical. Where was the snow? Now it feels normal, like Christmas is meant to be warm.

I sent R an early Christmas present, warning him that it was on the way with a text that said, “it feels a little silly, you might roll your eyes at me.” It was a tower of snacks, heavy on the fruit, with pears and apples, chocolate-covered blueberries, mixed nuts, and so on. When he was little, my mom always used to get him pears from Harry and David when we came here for Christmas. I don’t know how it started, and I think it basically stopped when we moved here and weren’t staying in my parents’ house at Christmas-time anymore. But when I saw the tower on sale, with free delivery, I was reminded. I didn’t know if he would get the nostalgia factor but I figured food for a college student during finals is always likely to be appreciated one way or another. I was right, but he got the nostalgia factor, too, even more clearly than I did. I’m glad. Glad that he appreciated the food, but also glad that it reminded him of his grandma.

Anyway, I’m mostly writing this because my dad told me I was being very quiet on my blog. It’s not because I’m not doing fun things — I’ve seen lots of friends, had some lovely meals, did a tour of Sanford homes — I’ve had plenty to write about. But most of my writing energy is going to Grace right now. I’ve gone off in a totally new direction, which is sort of dismaying — I was 90% done at the end of June and I thought I would be reusing most of that, not throwing most of it away — but mostly it’s not dismaying at all. I like what I’m writing, I like how it’s going. And when I could be thinking about blogging, I’m thinking about Grace instead. It’s not a bad thing.

Edited to add: I do love the internet. Here’s the dress. I didn’t assume from the one I saw that it would be above-the-knee; I think that’s probably how it looks on a 5’10” model instead of a more average person. But I think Grace would wear it either way.