BEWARE THE IDES of January.
Yes, January. Matters smaller than the fall of Caesar can still cause that sinking feeling, especially while drinking a bitter cocktail of post-holiday guilt, debt, waste and garden-variety dreariness/weariness.
Can I be the only one who falls victim each December to the outright trap that is the cruel parade of “festive” flavors in every grocery and specialty aisle? I blame it on the, ahem, inspiration I’ve derived from visiting too many dazzlingly decked domiciles, the kind that set me off on regrettable flights of fancy, often involving Crock-pots and wassail. Fall into the frou-frou trap early, and watch your house runneth over late.
Now, at a time of year when I crave the ordinary more than ever, in keeping with “ordinary time,” everything reeks of peppermint and gingerbread, cranberry and anise. And I seem to have just two unsavory choices: use or lose. Taste on or waste on. This year’s deadline to decide is the ides, Jan. 13. Let’s call it doomsday for all manner of post-Christmas detritus.
So far, using is winning, but losing is looking better and better. After I poured an entire tray of rock-hard candy-cane cookies into the trash — Betty Crocker, you let me down; these were slackers even when fresh — and ground up a bag and a half — but it sounded like half my body weight — of berries in an angry disposal, the shame was enough to steel my resolve to plunder on, to finish what I’d started and lie in this bed I’d made, yet I grow weaker hourly.
Judge me not, please. Merely understand. I’ve “enjoyed” a gingerbread bagel for about 12 days straight now, a curious feat considering the bag contained just six to begin with. (Yes, they multiplied, as things we want to get rid of are wont to do.)
Who bought these silly things anyway? I asked the air, commending myself that the answer was not I, sir. No matter. I am actually to blame for all the gingerbread K cups in the Coffee Stack, and there about 40 of those left from an original box of 18, a number that also magically and maddeningly spikes each morning I dream of pure Kona while suffering this swill. (A gingerbread creamer would have been cheaper, of course, but sometimes we are not of right holiday mind.)
I also am responsible for all the gingerbread Twix in the candy jar. A guest called them a cruel tease as he tore into one expecting the classic chocolate-cookie-combo glory only to get that unmistakable ginger jolt and frown. The anise bears I offered from the neighboring penny-candy can as a palate-cleanser did not salve the pain.
But at least the bears still hold more appeal than the old peanut-butter bells and striped peppermint puffs that taunt from other bowls in other corners of the house. I’d really like to give this stuff away, but at this point they strike me rather like that famous frock from “The Sound of Music,” which drew the distinct disdain of one Georg Von Trapp.
“Why, the homeless didn’t want this one, Captain,” Fraulein Maria explained of her raggy raiment.
Hey, that gives me an idea. I did get a large-and-in-charge St. Francis bird feeder for Christmas, with a side gift bag of seed. Perhaps all these leftovers are, literally, for the birds.
I’ll unwrap everything and even dice it into bite-size bits before placing it all into the feeder and shouting to the heavens in summons to all that fly the friendly skies.
Yard party! Come and get it, winged ones!
Don’t mind me, neighbors. I’m just a loon — get that one? — who never quite learns her lesson.