I’m trying to decide whether I’m sick. You might think this would be easy. I’m sneezing, sniffling, and coughing. I have a sore throat and a headache, my eyes hurt, and I don’t feel like moving at all. I’m sick, right?

It’s not that simple. I spend as much time as possible in denial about being sick.

First, I consider allergies. #1 daughter doesn’t accept this. She says, if you feel horrible, it doesn’t matter whether it’s germs or allergies. I disagree. If it’s an actual illness, then rest will help you get better and you shouldn’t share germs — you go to bed. If it’s allergies, you have to suck it up and work.

If I have to reject allergies, I still have the possibility of lack of sleep, stress,or some other emotion-based fake illness.

Sometimes I can get almost all the way through a minor illness with this strategy.

La Bella came over today with a lovely poinsettia. I was lying on the sofa knitting and reading and feeling sorry for myself. I had half-dressed the tree and tidied a bit earlier. I had even done laundry and grocery shopping before I sank into a stupor. Fortunately, she called first, so I zipped around a little and was able to receive her properly, with a cup of tea.

She did notice the enormous black circles under my eyes, my hoarseness, and the whole sniffling and sneezing thing, and gave me some good advice involving honey, vinegar, and herbs.

La Bella is an example to us all. She is older that my mother. She has a trim figure, lovely skin, and is also smart and  energetic and productive and kind. Unsurprisingly, she eats right, exercises regularly, takes good care of her skin and hair, dresses well, and follows a schedule. I tend to attribute this to the fact that she’s retired and has no children, but this is more self-delusion on my part.

I said, as she was talking a little more about how I ought to care for myself, that I was planning on making that a higher prority in the new year.

La Bella literally put her head in her hands.

Yeah, it’s several weeks till New Year’s, so I guess responding that way sounds like an excuse. Possibly because it is an excuse.

We had a civilized chat about materialism and the modern Christmas, upcoming parties, and stuff like that. Then La Bella headed out for her daily walk.

“You have to make yourself do it,” she said kindly but firmly. “I know that sounds obvious, but it’s true. You have to write it on your calendar.”

I agreed, sniffling and trying to keep my eyes open enough to look sincere.

I found a couple of poinsettia songs. The one in the video above is a mystery to me: I’ve found nothing about it. The one below is the more famous “Percy the Puny Poinsettia,” recorded by Elmo and Patsy, Elmo is Emlo Shropshire, a veterinarian from Kentucky. With this song, and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” written by his friend Randy Brooks, Shropshire became a multimillionaire.

Whether I’m sick or not, I’m definitely not well. I think I will be lying around reading for a day or two. Thenm without waiting for the new year, I will begin acting more like La Bella and less like a computer guy.