Peace and Quiet on Tibb’s Eve

It’s quiet inside—not a normal state of affairs in my home. Normally myself, OH and our four children use it as both a home base and staging ground from which to coordinate our busy, interconnected lives. For now, though, the rush and coordinated effort it takes to run a household has deemed me, if only for a while, redundant. The whirr of the laptop is only punctuated  now and then by the clicking of the heaters as they expand an contract against the wallboard.

It’s quiet outside too. Cold, though, presently -12 but it doesn’t feel quite that bad. No wind right now, another rare state of affairs for, not only is my home set right against the back drop of the Northeast Atlantic but also the cul-de-sac on which my house is located happens to be the highest populated spot in the whole city. We do wind and freezing rain quite well here. We also do beautiful sunsets—a fair compensation.

Peaceful: an unfamiliar state of affairs considering it’s Tibb’s Eve. One would expect my home’s normally chaotic state to be even more so, but not this time. An unexpected delay has meant I have to temporarily stand-down for now at the eLearning contract I’m currently working on. No more paid work until January 6th. The rest of the family is either at work or gone shopping. Me? I’m done. Long ago I learned the value of not procrastinating; at least as far as Christmas shopping is concerned.

That leaves what I consider the best gift of all, a few hours in which there’s no urgent need to do anything; time to reflect.

I admit to always having mixed feelings about Christmas. I’m no scrooge but neither am I one of those sappy fools who run around chasing silly myths like “Believing in Santa Claus” pursuing the false happiness we think we can have through acquiring and giving “stuff,” all the while spouting seasonal music while decked off in clothes specially-bought for the season.

Mind you I do have a couple of red and purple shirts that I favour this time of the year. When I go out I make a special effort to be presentable; no T-shirts,  and, if given a suitable drinkable bribe, will play a few seasonal tunes on the guitar—might even sing too if you offer me more than one “bribe.” Santa is welcome as long as I don’t have to insist out loud that it’s anything more than good fun. Gifts for those close to me will not be a problem and I’ll certainly take the time to attend to spiritual duties (warning: don’t probe this point as my usual long-windedness can easily become considerably more so if you push the right buttons). And, yes, visiting; time will be put aside to ensure that the appropriate catching up is done. I even sat with OH and daughter and watched—and enjoyed—“Mr. Stink” last evening. Simply put: it will be fun.

But there is a line that won’t get crossed; things I won’t do. Things like: wearing silly sweaters, defending Santa Clause’s so-called “existence” when someone wants to get serious about it, attending social events because I’m “supposed to.” In particular, stress will be pushed as far away as the line will let it go. The line, where is it? Right on the edge of what I think should be happening this time of the year. Here’s a list of those “things” if you are interested:

  • Slowing down, being more fully aware and focusing on being grateful instead of driven.
  • Strengthening and renewing bonds with family and friends.
  • Reflecting on the past year with an eye toward mending any damage I have wrought and planning to do better next time around, hopefully.

Anything else is secondary; unwelcome even.

The sun just shone through the living room window. It’s got some heat in it. A quick glance at the ‘phone shows that the temperature has warmed up all the way to -10; balmy. There’s a bit of ice left in the driveway that needs to be cleared out before tonight’s snowfall, else it will spread. Salt doesn’t do much at this temperature so it will go the hard way, chop by chop. No problem—that’s just an excuse to get outside. Just a few chores today—cook supper, clean up, that’s about it.

Tomorrow, hopefully, will be much the same.

To all of you who drop by here from time to time I wish you all the best for now and in the coming year. I hope that you get the chance to enjoy a few special moments with those you love, the good fortune to be happy in the moments left in this year and, finally, the opportunity to reflect on past, present and future.

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About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
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28 Responses to Peace and Quiet on Tibb’s Eve

  1. mary says:

    A toast to you and all the family this “Tibb’s eve” – So happy you are having a holiday with lots of family time and some quite space for reflection also. Christmas prep was a bit delayed at our place – myself and A. both sick but last night we managed to put up our Christmas Tree (sort of – it’s a bit wobbly) while watching Sound of Music – we can’t quite seem to get the hang of making the tree “Mya proof” – I am sure when we get home from work this eve, she will be purring triumphantly and happily batting around ornaments having successfully completed her annual takedown. Mission accomplished!Glad you are having a great holiday and I’ll remind Santa not to bring you one of those sweaters with reindeer on it:) Hugs from here.

    • Hope everyone is feeling better soon. As for the tree try a little duck tape. Try the tree first and if that doesn’t work maybe a bit for the cat too 🙂 So far so good with Tibbs eve; still nice and quiet. We’ll probably head out to Alex’s place on Christmas for dinner. It’s going to be snowy Christmas eve and part of Christmas day but I’m hoping things will ease off in time. We’ll talk over the holidays.

  2. Maurice I agree that we should not have to adorn ourselves with reindeer ears and tacky t-shirts to advertise christmas day, as it is done to death by the media and the retail outlets already. I agree whole heartedly with your list and this post had me smiling ah the piece and quiet, enjoy it. My father use to say that was all he wanted at christmas and birthdays, he had nine children. One year I gave him a jar with a note that read peace and quiet, he never quite got that present Im guessing and is probably laughing at me now, when I sit with my husband and wish we had some of that stuff and we only have two little munchkins. Have a Merry Christmas from Oz. (its beach time)

    • A short time ago, when in I was in grade four our geography class (today we call it social studies) focused on several different cultures from around the world: the Andes, Finland, Canada’s North, the Congo, the Andes and, yes, Australia. Four dominant images from then have never left: sheep stations, the Sydney Opera House, Tennis and … Christmas Day at the beach. It’s always been so fascinating as, for us in my part of the world, we also equate Christmas with the start of winter whereas for you it’s the exact opposite. What a wonderful world! Hope the beach is great!
      And if I had been the recipient of that note you can be sure it would have a permanent place among my treasures.

  3. Martin says:

    Hi Maurice…we watched Mr. Stink too and enjoyed the light-heartedness, good cheer and thoughtfulness it brought. May I encourage you to get that guitar going, sing your head off with those you love. -10 sounds positively frigid as we watch the bananas continue to ripen here in Comox on the east coast of Vancouver Island! Best wishes to you and yours from our family. Merry Christmas, “for unto us a child is born”

    • Noel is the best watch-word for this time of the year, any way you look at it the phrase works. Now, are you SURE I can’t have even a small bit of that beautiful Vancouver weather. I’m jealous of you and of my sister (first comment, see above). Vancouver Island is the place to be this time of year.

  4. elkement says:

    Now THAT’s what I call a Christmas posting 🙂
    I am rather a Christmas denier – no tree, no decoration (in particular: none consuming electricity), no singing, no presents! Just meeting family and friends – and, as you said, time for reflection!
    And I like to watch Scrooged starring Bill Murray on TV 🙂
    I wish you relaxing holidays!

  5. Peter Smith says:

    Well said, a wonderful Christmas to you and your family as well

  6. tw says:

    I learn something new every time I visit you Maurice. Today I discovered Tibb’s Eve and the fact that its brrrrrr cold in Newfoundland. -10 doesn’t sound at all balmy to me! I also discovered that we share similar thoughts about what should be happening at this time of year and it doesn’t involve frantic visits, being influenced by 3 for 2 offers or trying to fit an improbable amount of activity into an impossible period of time. Hallelujah! I wish you and your family a stress-free Christmas complete with seasonal tunes and acceptable bribes 🙂 Have a lovely time.

    • Thank you. And the same to you and your family too. We plan to travel on Christmas day and right now there’s a snowfall warning in place. It’s been upgraded to 30 cm–not nice. Looks like Christmas dinner may be a few hours late while we wait for the storm to pass to the Grand Banks. I guess that means it’ll taste that much better. My mom always said, “hunger is good sauce.” Looking forward to hearing much more from you in the coming year@

  7. SJ O'Hart says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Maurice, you and all those you love. Sending you warm wishes from across the miles! 🙂

  8. seeker says:

    Are you done with “Tibb”? Come to Vancouver, it is currently 9 Celsius. Tomorrow it will go down to 6. Tropical weather. A very civilized time you are having, Maurice. It sure it feels good to have grown older and wiser when it comes to Christmas. Celebrate what matters. Family, friends and faith. Have a blessed Christmas to you and your love one from my coast to yours. Perpetua.

    • Thank you. Yes, enjoying the three F’s here at home. It’s warmed up all the way to -7 but that’s just because it’s been snowing so hard. I expect it will go right back to -11 or -12 as soon as the snow stops, which, hopefully will be soon as we plan to have Christmas dinner with Josephine’s parents, and that’s a ninety minute drive at the best of times–probably twice that today.
      Sending you back all the best Christmas wishes, from the Eastern edge to the Western one!

  9. A nice post on “Tibb’s Eve”! With years I’ve also become more and more reluctant to participate in any hubbub around the holidays. Some traditional foods from home, some decorations to light up the dark and lots of time for quiet reflection and family. And maybe some songs w guitar, if the “bribe” is right. Have to think about that…Sending you and yours warm Holiday greetings from the Gulf coast – may the season be a good one, in the way you like it!

    • Thank-you. So far so good. I figure there’s around 100 cm of snow on the ground thus far this December–around 20 since yesterday alone! You can have some of it if you like 🙂 as we have lots to “share.”
      Wishing you all the best!

  10. Mt Christmas has been peaceful and quiet for years. They started to improve when we stopped the annual competition from our respective parents for our visit for Christmas and everafter we stayed at home in glorious solitude, usually going into town on Christmas Day because it was QUIET and all the shops were CLOSED. And then we would go back home and curl up in front of the fire. Boxing Day and NYD were always nice walks somewhere. I’m still trying to make space for a tree, but I think I’m a bit late for this year 😀

    I think I did go so far as to put tinsel in my hair and a sprig of holly on my smock when we worked the Christmas Eve markets. I was very young though, and it wasn’t one of those horrible red santa hats that everyone seems to wear. (The tinsel went back on the tree of course, as did the holly sprig).

    I didn’t know what Tibb’s Eve was either – ever the educator! How nice to have your own local special celebration day, or eve.

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, and best wishes for 2014.

    • A happy Christmas right back to you and your family too! Whatever about the Santa hat (you might get me to wear one but you’d have to feed me with–lots of–booze for the whole night to get me to put it on, and that would only last until I figured out what I’d done), I think I’ll have to put on the stocking hat or at least the flat cap when I go out later on.

  11. Well said Maurice … we’re on the same page with everything you have touched upon. I’ll have to admit however that I am wearing a t-shit and jeans as I compose this post on what will promise to be a busy holiday eve. Although no gift (in the traditional sense) has arrived at my doorstep with a Canadian postmark I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for the gifts you have provided over the course of this past year. I do understand that it takes a finite amount of time to bang out responses to my posts and perhaps a bit of mental application to figure out what it is I have said and to calculate your always thoughtful responses to my ramblings. I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along my simple thanks for your willingness to engage in this most enjoyable give and take. I hope, to some extent at least, I have managed to reciprocate. Please have a most enjoyable and relaxing Holiday. Here’s to the coming year. May it be full of all things good for all. D

    • Hey there Dave and a merry Christmas to all of you at Pairodox! I’m sitting here on the couch. House is a bit of a mess with some wrappings left here and there and a full load of breakfast dishes in the sink (bacon, scrambled eggs and French toast, yum). Later on we’ll drive out to Alex’s for Christmas dinner (assuming the snow lets off) BURP!
      Dave, right back at you–I have a Facebook account, a Twitter account and a WordPress account. I check the first two from time to time but my love is wordpress. I started the blog around 18 months ago when I’d finalized my decision to retire (which happened 4 months ago) and wanted to use the blog as a vehicle to see just what it was that “I was about.” as, frankly, I was no longer sure. I figured that if I just left the blog as unthemed and just wrote about whatever suited me then after a year or so I could look back and have anaecdotal evidence that I could analyse. It’s what I have been trained to go with–do not trust your gut but go with the evidence. And it was a good plan in that I did shed the light I wanted.
      BUT–something else happened too. Something wonderful and unexpected.
      Wordpress encourages you to read blogs belonging to others. It’s persuasive and so, after a few months I found myself scanning trough other blogs, out of curiosity.
      Sometime during that period between, I’d say, December and February of last year I found a small collection of truly interesting people who valued the same things as I did but did not necessarily come at it it the same way. This small group of people has become a very important part of my life, offering, from time to time, insight–new ideas and different ways of seeing things. Not only has this been truly useful in that it has helped reshape a lot of ideas and opinions but, just as importantly, it has been fun.
      Dave, you are very much an integral part of that. I look forward to your posts and generally read them more than once (Same goes for Elke, whose posts favour the science way of knowing too). The first time to get the gist and just enjoy the read (they are very well prepared, factual and written in a style that very much agrees with me) and the second to refocus the thinking to prepare a response. For example, I have already read your most recent one. Funny–Clarence, It’s a wonderful life, the Burgess Shale and S J Gould (did you mention him–see I do need to read twice) have been integral to how I understand evolution too.
      But I’ll respond to that later on…
      So, in summary Dave, at this time of the year, when I give thanks, “Welcome to Pairodox Farm” and it’s science-based POV toward life on a farm (as opposed to life by the water) is one of the things I am grateful for.
      Merry Christmas!

      • Dam! I just looked over my comment and found a whopper of a typo! So sorry! Why is it that the author can’t edit comments? Please forgive me … perhaps I should write more slowly in the future? D

  12. johnlmalone says:

    Peace to you and your family too, Maurice; hope your washing machine is in good order 🙂

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