Since my last post? What have I been doing? Oh yeah, compensating for the December rut. No, I am not a Christmas person. Continually being impoverished during the most consumption-happy time of the year does that to a girl. On the plus side, I am a fan of Winter Solstice. I don’t mind the rain, but bring back the light! At some point, though, my mildly pagan leanings were upstaged by the presenting of Christmas lists brought on, no doubt, by the influence of Christmas celebrants whose parents buy them everything their greedy little hearts desire. By the kids’ fifth grade years, the hypocrisy between what many Arcata liberal parents preach and what they practice became evident. Can you drive around with a “Stop Endless War” sticker on your Outback bumper while buying your son Grand Theft Auto 3 to play on his own TV in his room? I mean, obviously you can – but can you keep a straight face while doing so?

I remember being so poor, trying to do Christmas for five on $100, and still aiming for crafty, local, sustainable gift-giving only to overhear the store owners whose businesses I was patronizing coming discussing the merits of Target vs. Costco – and don’t forget the Dollar Store!I mean, whatever works for you, works, I guess. And sure, we’re most of us hypocritical to a degree. But if you’re gonna talk the talk, can’t you at least walk the walk once in a while?

It’s funny, though: the more money I make, the more protective I get of it. Now that I’m back in the working poor/low middle class side of things, I’m much more of a miser than when I was getting by on student loans and food stamps. Back then, having a treat like going out to dinner or buying a mocha was one of the only ways to reassure myself that being broke didn’t mean being unworthy. Even if society doesn’t think raising kids and going to school is valuable enough to support, I know it is – and I deserve a break, damn it. Now that I have a teensy bit of money left over out of the paychecks, I scrutinize more carefully. Why would I spend $4 on a mocha when I can make fine coffee at home? Why go out to dinner for $60 when Bobby and I make food just as good and more to our liking? Why give some bum on the Plaza a buck now that the divide between him and I is so much more tangible than it used to be? After all, once I get my credit cleaned up, I could maybe possibly somehow even buy a house now! Or at least take a vacation or two. Now that I have something to lose, my spending habits have changed. Don’t get me wrong – that “leftover” bit doesn’t go far. Neither have I foregone the gratuitous swiping of the ol’ debit card. But I’m trying, I’m trying.

Have you ever noticed how taboo talking about money remains? In a society where porn spam and celebrity gossip abound, somehow to discuss money on a personal levels remains viewed as crass. Most people will share details about their sex life more easily, which is a shame, because really, I’d rather know how you manage your bills than the fact you discovered you have a thing for anal sex. I could learn something about money management.

In other news, the UCSF doctor advised upping Nick’s Lantus (long-acting insulin) a unit-and-a-half, which seems to have done the trick. Whew.

Kaylee came down with what seems suspiciously like the Baywood virus, causing me to miss two days of work, but seems fine now. Whew, again.

Chelsea turns 18 in 63 days. What that means in practical terms remains to be seen… But damn. Eighteen. Should I hold on to the fact that I’ve been carded twice in two days to mean I’m not looking quite as old as I feel?

Surfing? Ha. It is December. Which for some people is a cause for celebration. Like Humboldt’s own Craig Spjut, below.

For me, the amount of daylight factored against the size of swell times the jobs and the kids equals not surfing more often than a jaunt to the water. I’ll get it if I can, but mostly, I write December off and hope for a good January. Love having a truck, though. I’ve driven out to the Jetty three times now. What a spoiled, lovely feeling.