I haven’t made a holiday wish list in a while, partially because I had become a self-flagellating martyr like so many other mothers. “Oh no, don’t worry about me! I’ll simply slave away while everyone else enjoys themselves!” At some point I realized that was really damaging and said, “Well fuck that noise!” and decided I could and indeed should still be part of the madness that is the American holidays. On my own terms, of course. Malls are for desperate sheep who don’t know any better. Christmas is for having FUN, and if that’s not on my agenda anymore, well then I need to get the hell out of the way. Presents are part of that fun for me, and I have just as much fun, if not more, opening clumsily handmade gifts that glow with love from my friends as I do opening perfectly wrapped store-bought gifts. Perhaps more importantly, I have even more fun every year making presents for the people in my life, but that’s another post. Anyway, in the spirit of reclaiming part of what was fun at the holidays for me, I present my wish list.
1. A zafu/zabuton natural fiber meditation pillow set. Like this one from the Zafu Store, via Amazon. I have no idea why there is such a wide price discrepancy in what seems to be a very simple set of items, but I’ve seen them from $50 to $120. I have many things to sit on at home but nothing that quite affords the same support and comfort as a proper meditation pillow. Not in my butt’s experience, anyway. Some even come filled with buckwheat hulls, which is comfortable, but a bit noisier.
2. A combination glasses/smartphone case. So far I have only found one that fits the bill, from the deliciously evil folks over at Levenger. At the age of 39, I’m afraid I really must keep my glasses with me at all times as well as my phone. I’m also perennially clumsy, so only something this stout will likely do unless I want to wind up replacing one or both.
3. A desk holder for my nice pens. This is a sheer luxury item, although it would have the benefit of keeping them where I can see them so I’ll, you know, use them. I’ve been collecting nice-ish pens for about fifteen years now: I think I have six.
4. A pair of inline skates and appropriate protective gear. Except for a helmet: I have one of those. I forgot how much fun roller skating was until I got invited to a kids’ party recently. Living in a city with a custom-built veloway just for bicycles and skaters makes me want to go out and build high speed.
5. A guitar and lessons. I’m on the fence over acoustic vs. electric. I hear the latter is easier than the former, but I’ve never been about doing things the easy way. What fun is that? 🙂 I enjoy guitar music of both styles, so I figure if I get one and like it, I’ll wind up getting the other eventually. But if you put a gun to my head and said, “Acoustic or electric, bitch!” I’d probably say acoustic.
6. A small cast iron teapot. In fact, this one will do nicely.
7. Japanese incense and incense burners. Nippon Kodo and Shoyeido are undoubtedly the big daddies in that world. I’m actually an aficionado of all incense, regardless of origin, but my daughter’s sensitive nose only likes the highly refined aromas of Japan so we try to stick to that. Or other low-smoke incenses that are joss sticks (i.e. free of the bamboo stick). No floral scents: for some reason humankind’s attempts to put floral scents into smoke give me headaches. Woody, spicy and earthy smells, on the other hand, I could breathe all day, such as Shoyeido’s Daily Incense line. Fruit smells belong on fruit. If you give me Escential Essences or AIRS, I will beat you with the package. All of my former bookstore coworkers are dying of laughter right now.
8. Books by Pema Chodron. In particular, I need Taking The Leap: Freeing Ourselves From Old Habits and Fears. I just quit smoking, and have been on the path of Buddhism for a couple of years now. I know I will need this wisdom if I am to stay on that path and remain smoke-free. My family medical history makes this non-negotiable. I would also like a copy of Comfortable With Uncertainty. Since I am so much the opposite.
9. Almost anything by Shambhala Publications (the new 40th anniversary reprint of Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind would be nice). Their books ooze enlightenment. I feel happier just looking at them.
It only shows one side, but it’s a classic dragon/phoenix Chinese motif. Yixing clay comes from a very small and specific area of China which is famous for its purple clay that has been made into these little teapots for centuries. They are unglazed on the inside and are traditionally only used for a single kind of tea, or even a single variety, and age over time, improving the flavor of the tea.
11. Since everything in my life goes to 11, I’ll end with a list of my favorite places where gift certificates would rock:
And yes of course, if you just happen to be picking up stacks of 36″ flatscreen televisions and feel like dropping one off at my house, feel free. We certainly won’t refuse.