Saturday, January 3, 2015


I'm looking out my window. Tomorrow will be the first Monday of the first work week of 2015.

Yesterday, in the buildings across the street, like last year and the year before, I could see decorated Christmas trees on quite a few different floors -- bigger, trees than ever before -- all appeared to have been expensively, creatively, decorated.

There's already a tree lying at the curb, in the street below.

Soon, all the trees will be in the street, along with steel dumpsters that are piled high with red, green, gold, and silver things -- ribbons, bows, labels, cards, protective tissue, wrapping paper -- all the pretty  things we picked out carefully, purchased, debated over how to handle, then wrapped, tied, taped, and fussed with.

Ah Christmas trees ... After the holiday you can keep the tree up for a week or so and pretend not to notice the branches becoming brown and pine needles beginning to cover the floor, until you notice pine needles in other parts of the house.

Nobody wants pine needles on the kitchen floor, or in the bathroom.

So we'll move our tree into the hall. Like our neighbors in the tall buildings across the street, who elevator their trees down -- our tree and theirs will be carried to the street, and laid to rest ignobly on their sides at the curb.

Sometimes, the trees lie there and brown turns to gray until the garbage guys arrive, and the remnants of what once was your marvelous -- oh, this is IT tree! -- are disposed of.

Ours was a lovely tree -- a little crooked, but it grew somewhere from a sprout to five feet tall, to be just right -- beautiful despite a slightly crooked spine -- ready for us to choose it, buy it, and make it into ours.

Well, it'll be Ground Hog Day, then Valentine's Day, first day of spring, 4th of July, Halloween, and in a minute it'll be Happy New Year two zero one six!

Oh dear, I didn't give a holiday present to person who delivers the mail these days. The woman who replaced our friendly postman (who retired), barely says hello and only buzzes when she has something that won't fit in our box. The next time she buzzes, I'll  buzz back and say, "Hey, I'm Emily -- what's your name?" I'll get her to spell it out. "Next time you deliver there'll be an envelope in the mailbox with your name on it -- an Xmas/New Year's gift or you."

Things have changed since last year, but if you know who people are, even my bustling business street turns into a small-town neighborhood.

This year, more than ever, I  want to say "hi" or "how're you doing?" and know all my neighbors, all the UPS, mail, garbage men, even the parking lot guys' first and last names.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Emily, as each year ends, asks her husband, John Cullum, about his New Year's resolutions.

John, as usual, hems and haws; Emily, as usual, announces something wifely about cooking more.

Recalling -- oh my -- many other years, and other New Year's Eve resolutions, the Cullums agree -- their best resolutions have been made NOT before the holiday, but during the year when something happens.