Best of Boston, Life Lessons

Hear the Angel Voices

“Are you ready?” friends kept asking.  And it was starting to vex me.  Ordinarily, I would be ready.  But with a week left before Christmas, there were cards not yet written and cookies still to be baked.  Moving in November had really messed with my holiday preparations this year.

When a dear friend invited me to her son’s Christmas concert the final Sunday before Christmas, the left side of my brain flatly rejected the notion.  I had too much to do to spend a whole afternoon at a concert.  But the right side of my brain which, for southpaws like me, runs the show had me blurting out, “Sounds like fun – I’m all in.”

Intuitively, I knew I needed some Christmas spirit.  And an afternoon of Christmas carols sounded like just the thing.  But as I traveled the long, convoluted train ride to Dorchester I wondered if my time might have been better spent preparing for the holiday.  I was behind and still had so much to do before Christmas.

The concert was held in a beautiful old Catholic church with magnificent jewel-tone stained glass windows and majestic statuary.  Even thought I had not been there before, I felt welcomed amidst all the familiar symbols of my faith.

Shards of late afternoon sunlight streamed through the stained-glass windows, and I settled into my seat in the crowded church pew.  The young singers and musicians were middle- and high-school aged and they represented four different Boston choirs and musical ensembles.  As they gathered on the steps of the altar, I couldn’t help but notice that these youngsters were a diverse group – in age, in height, in ethnicity, each one beautiful and perfect in his or her own way.  I knew by reputation that they were talented and the moment they began to sing, their pure, sweet voices touched my heart.  This, I thought, is what angel voices must sound like.  A peace I had not felt for some time came over me.  Yes, I thought, I am ready.  I am ready for Christmas.

Home Improvements

Ducks in a Row

I recently moved and all this change (read: disorder) has been jarring for a woman who inherited the cleaning gene and who’s so hyper-organized that I make a list of the lists I need to make.

This may be lost on those of you who don’t use a flat iron, but it took me four days to find mine.  Four days!  I should’ve marked the box that contained this miracle worker, magic wand “OPEN FIRST – Survival Kit” instead of “bathroom cabinet.”  Then there was the missing soap dish.  I was forced to put the slippery-when-wet bar in a zippy bag until I unearthed it.  But worst of all, when I opened the box marked “kitchen – coffee” there was the coffee maker but the filters were nowhere in sight.  Turns out they ended up as padding in a box that contained my favorite glass pitcher.

You’re probably wondering how such a list-maker extraordinaire couldn’t keep better track of what went into each of the 119 boxes that made the move.  I started out with a brand new spiral notebook, a package of fresh marker pens, bubble wrap, a mountain of newspapers, and miles of clear packing tape.  The plan was simple: number and label each box: #37 living room glass – fragile  # 38 dining room – good glass – SUPER fragile  # 39 dining room – Nanny’s stemware – EXTRA EXTRA FRAGILE.  Then I listed the contents of each numbered box in the spiral notebook.  But on that last frantic day before the move, things went terribly wrong.  Some of the boxes were numbered but not labeled and two of the boxes were labeled but not numbered.  Can you relate?

It’s been a month since the move and my ducks are finally in a row.  I’ve just about finished unpacking – for now that is.  But in a couple of months I’ll be gutting the kitchen and bathroom and, before the renovation project can begin, I’ll be packing up once more.