Bad behavior has begun at the store. Oh, most of our shoppers are still happy and fun. They are playing games together and admiring each other’s children and enjoying their choice of gifts.

But there are exceptions. The first of the Stage 2 shoppers are in, right on schedule.

I am not going to tell you how to behave when shopping, but I do have a few respectful suggestions. First, don’t tell me that you spend a lot of money at my store. For one thing, if it were true, I would know it and you would know that I knew it and wouldn’t bother. For another, I don’t treat our serious shoppers any differently from our occasional shoppers, and it is an insult to suggest that I would.

Second, don’t swear at me if we are out of something. You may think that I have your coveted item in the back and am lying when I say we are out, but even if that were true, I wouldn’t give in and get it for you because you lost your temper and pitched a fit.

Third, if you feel you must wallop your child, do it somewhere else. I agree that he was behaving badly, and I realize that some parents believe in spanking, but it is very unpleasant for the other customers — and frightening for the other children — to witness this. And, you know, if your method of discipline actually worked well, he wouldn’t have behaved quite that badly, would he? Just a thought.

In awareness and accountability news, I stepped up my program at the gym in  order to keep it challenging. I then went to check with Evan, the trainer, and make sure that I was doing it right. The young man was very nice, but said that maybe I would like to discuss it with one of the trainers. Ah, yes, it was not Evan. It was some other dark-haired guy my daughter’s age.

It has happened. I have reached the age at which all young people look basically alike. You remember, in college art classes, hearing or reading artists saying that they preferred older models because all the young ones looked alike, right? And you, being a young person, couldn’t imagine what they meant. In fact, you might have thought that old people all looked alike. But the Empress knew exactly what I meant when I told her the story, because it had happened to her, too. Another landmark of advancing age. Sigh.

Um, and I did not meet the 24/7 goal (2 fruits, 4 vegetables, 7 whole grains), but rather had a rushed meatitude and sweetitude type of day.

What’s more, it is supposed to snow today. I am trying not to make that into a crisis.

All in all, things are just the least little bit less than perfect chez fibermom. We need a really stunning song today, so here is “All My Heart This Night Rejoices,” another of the 17th century German carols. These carols are often described as being in “the Lutheran tradition,” as Luther was encouraging carol-singing while the dour Scots, the Puritan English, and even the French were suppressing them. The Germans were rewarded with some gorgeous tunes, including this one. A violin would be good with this, or a cello, and six-part harmony if you’ve got it.

This song will make all those little stressors and imperfections seem less important. Speaking of which, #1 daughter sent me a picture of her Thanksgiving turkey. Isn’t it handsome? It is a perfect example of how something that seems very difficult and worrying can turn out quite successfully in spite of us. She also sent a picture of herself and Son-in-law, whom we have not seen in almost a year, so I was excited about that. They look exactly the same as they did last time we saw them, so they can’t be expected to understand how thrilling it is for me to get a picture. It is not quite as good as seeing them in person would be, but it is something.

It strikes me that some people — possibly our first Stage 2 shoppers, for example — may not want to be cheered by lovely music and Pollyanna-like references. Some people may prefer to wallow in holiday stress and depression. Or perhaps enjoy a little black humor (which I enjoy, irritatingly cheerful person though I may be). For such people, “All My Heart This Night Rejoices” may not strike the right chord. They may prefer “It’s beginning to look a lot like Fish-men”. And why not? This is Liberty Hall.