Yesterday was new book shipment day at work, always an enjoyable occasion. However, it was also the first day for Stage 2 shoppers.

This reinforces what Gilbert said in his book, I think. We could go up to any random person who hasn’t begun holiday preparations in November (no, it would have to be a person who feels responsible for holiday preparations) and say, “On December 7th, you will begin to be so stressed that you will be telling your troubles to strangers in stores.”

They will tell us why that won’t be true because they are different and special, but I find by checking back on my xanga that Pearl Harbor Day is reliably the first day for seeing people who are stressed and miserable about their holiday preparations. I try to say something comforting, if they seem to be in the mood for that, or something to suggest that I am in the same boat, if they seem more in a “misery loves company” mood.

In one of the new books I found a soothing carol called “The Winds Through the Olive Trees.” If you click on the title you will find a page where you can, by searching around a little, find a midi of this 16th century Gascon carol played on a several different stringed instruments, with a bit of whistling thrown in for good measure.  Here you can find a neon-bright page with lyrics and a midi of the melody. You can learn it really quickly. Then teach it to any children you happen to have hanging around, and you can all sing it, swaying gently, any time you feel stressed.

I may see if that helps our Stage 2 shoppers.

I am not feeling too stressed, myself, though it is clear that I will not actually be able to do everything I had planned to do. There was also this message from my Sunday School co-teacher, whose turn it is to lead this week, saying “Do you have clay you can use, or should I get you some?” To this I wanted to respond, “Huh?” This woman is gone two thirds of the time. Missions in Tanzania, I think, is her specious excuse for leaving me to do all the work. And now she wants me to do something with clay on the day she is supposed to lead?

And also my boys have eaten all the cookies from the freezer. Fortunately, The Empress has a recipe that makes a lot of cookies (mine all make about two dozen) so I can whip up that 6.5 dozen for next week’s fundraiser. Last year, I just pulled out 6.5 dozen of the ones I had made according to the HGP schedule and calmly dropped them off on the way to work.

And tomorrow I have two brunches to attend before I go to work.  I will be fitting present-making in around these events. I toyed with the idea of taking my soldering iron to work with me, but have rejected it.

So I can sympathize a bit with the Stage 2 shoppers. I am reminding myself that I have done everything I absolutely have to do, and the rest of the things can be dropped if need be. It is easy to be sort of infected by the Stage 2 shoppers and the holiday magazines and stuff, so this sort of self-reminder is essential.

And I will be singing “The Winds Through the Olive Trees” and possibly waltzing about a bit as I do so.