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a gift for you

December 20, 2012

Rose wakes up every morning, pads into our room, crawls on top of me and then ambushes my sleeping self with whatever urgent thought is currently orbiting her mind, like, “when can we have bacon again?”

These questions are startling at 6:02 am. Lately she’s been whispering, “so, tell me again how many hotels on our trip will have breakfast?”

We’re going on a trip! A little road-trip loop-de-loop high desert tour. It’s crazy, because I can’t even count how many zip codes away from Durango we’ll be. And who takes a roadtrip in December? Apparently people who can’t imagine leaving home during the other seasons on account of tomato seedlings and the commitment to pears and chasing elk and such. 


And while Dan and I are excited about taking the kids to the Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon and the slickrock canyons of Utah and some hot springs in New Mexico, Rose’s fantasies center around the single-serving plastic creamers found at most hotel breakfasts. And I love her for that, I truly do. (And when there’s no complimentary breakfast, we’ve got the camp stove! And I know Rosie loves me for that).


Our holiday celebrations have been perfectly lovely in our typical laissez faire unorthodoxy. We don’t have a tree this year, for no particular reason, but opening Nana Judy’s homemade advent calendars and finding a little teddy bear sticker has been an unparalleled delight. The kids are opening gifts sporadically, one at a time, when they have time to really digest them, which seemed to elevate the journals I got them to superstar status when I worried they might be duds. Our gifts to each other get wrapped and re-wrapped in the same worn-out paper. It’s sweet and celebratory and eggnogy without anyone feeling like there’s anything particular to achieve or get right.


Also, we’re likely to half-assedly wrap the rum that we bought anyway for the eggnog and present it for opening because we’re all feeling extra gifty.

Rose orchestrated some complex math to make sure the nightly lighting of the menorah was as fair as possible, something like: number of candles ÷ number of family members² = Rose lighting slightly more than anyone else (but only slightly). The kids loved hearing about how Dan once mentioned to me, regarding the Hanukkah prayer, “I like the part about sharing kitties,” (there is a part that goes: asher kide shanu, pronounced: ah-share kitty shanu), which still elicits inappropriate giggles when we got to that part.


This year I bought 2 friends a subscription to The Sun, my favorite magazine, to which I’ve been subscribing for about 15 years. It is a monthly literary magazine, mostly personal essays, some fiction, interviews, photography and poetry. Amazingly, there are no ads and haven’t been for its 30+ years. The writing is stunning. It’s brave-hearted and honest and dark and hopeful.

After buying those 2 gift subscriptions, The Sun e-mailed me with this offer: a very good price on one more subscription, and I immediately thought of you all. You guys would love this magazine. Leave a comment to be entered for a one year subscription to The Sun.

ps: has anyone read Lidia Yuknavitch? Oh my. My head is still spinning. In a good way.

pps: I’m teaching a new writing class starting in late January. Tell your friends. Details here.

ppps: I’m unplugging for our little desert peregrination. Lets meet back here after Christmas, okay? Have a joyous holiday.

Love yous all! xoxo

48 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2012 9:06 am

    Oh, I love your holiday plans and the sporadic gift giving (and the half-assed wrapped rum). Perfectly delightful. And I love the SUN, though I let my subscription lapse, so count me in if you will. I’d love to dive into that fabulous writing again.

    Have a wonderful trip!! xo

  2. December 21, 2012 9:23 am

    Merry merry. I love the half assed wrapped rum. It would fit in under our tree, definitely.

  3. December 21, 2012 9:31 am

    The rum, oh that made my morning. Cheers to spiked eggnog for breakfast in the coming days! And can I enter? I would *love* to read a years worth of Sun. Enjoy your celebrating… xo~

  4. December 21, 2012 9:46 am

    The gift of words? How lovely! Thank you for sharing!

  5. katherine permalink
    December 21, 2012 9:54 am

    Wow. I’ve never hear of “The Sun” but it sounds positively amazing!

  6. Michelle permalink
    December 21, 2012 10:00 am

    A new journal is always a favorite gift of mine, too. Would love a subscription.

  7. Melissa permalink
    December 21, 2012 10:45 am

    Lidia, as in Dora, a head case? Oh yeah I read it!
    Happy road tripping!! And I love the way you do holidays, btw! Xo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 21, 2012 3:37 pm

      Yes, Dora. The storytelling and the writing was amazing. xo

      • December 27, 2012 11:48 am

        have you read chronology of water? i opened it and found myself on the kitchen floor hours later, whispering holy crap under my breath and thinking ‘this is how you write your mother,’ and ‘this is what a life is.’

        lidia yuknavitch de-lurked me here. in other news, i love your blog.

        • Rachel Turiel permalink*
          December 27, 2012 4:45 pm

          It’s on library request for me. Can’t wait.

  8. December 21, 2012 10:45 am

    Oh oh oh, I hope you have a wonderful trip. Honestly, winter is my favorite time in the high desert, and we did quite a few winter trips down to Taos/Santa Fe when we lived there. We did Bandelier in the winter too. Beautiful. Loved the rum wrapping. We’re about at that point too. And would love the magazine. That photo on the front totally sucked me in.

  9. Kati permalink
    December 21, 2012 11:06 am

    ooh! enter me! just the inspiration i need these days…safe travels, have such fun and we’ll all be eagerly awaiting the Continental Breakfast Report. MWAH

  10. Mindi Clark permalink
    December 21, 2012 11:06 am

    I always used to get this magazine and loved it. Somehow it has slipped through the cracks over time. Enter me please. Also, which of her books left your head spinning?

  11. December 21, 2012 11:20 am

    I’m a grandma. I hardly ever comment (sorry). I love your blog and enjoy each entry. It provides many memories of my own children growing up – laughter, joy…. I had never heard of The Sun magazine but it sounded like something I would enjoy…so I looked it up online and subscribed. (So do not enter me in the drawing, please). Just wanted you to know that your blog is a gift. Keep it up and have a wonderful trip.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 21, 2012 3:38 pm

      Nancy, I so hope you enjoy the magazine! Thank you for reading, and for your kind words.

  12. December 21, 2012 11:23 am

    I have never head of Sun magazine, but looking online it seems to have some great essays. I hope your trip and the rest of your holidays are wonderful. I’m glad to have found your blog this fall, it is one I really look forward to reading. Too bad the writing class has to be taken in person, I would love to attend but the commute from Wyoming might get old. How about something online? ;)

  13. Jonni permalink
    December 21, 2012 11:23 am

    I too, love to get the written word for gifts. Thank you for sharing your Christmas plans, they sound divine…

  14. Deborah permalink
    December 21, 2012 11:44 am

    A good literary magazine with no ads? As rare as a unicorn zebra. I’d love it.

  15. Kasey Mathews permalink
    December 21, 2012 11:50 am

    Stunning writing feeds my soul. I’ll throw my hat into that ring any day! Have a marvelous road trip! I really hope to some day take my kids to see the Anasazi ruins – so fascinating. Enjoy!

  16. Emily permalink
    December 21, 2012 12:18 pm

    I remember the look of awe on my children’s faces when they saw their first breakfast bar tureen FILLED with bacon. I still savor the moment when I casually said “yes” to the breathlessly asked “can I have more bacon”. happy sigh.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 21, 2012 3:40 pm

      Yes. Half of the pleasure is saying, “yes.”

  17. abozza permalink
    December 21, 2012 1:27 pm

    Rachel, I would LOVE a subscription to The Sun! My father used to have a subscription and he would let me read them after he was done. I, too, was always amazed at the lack of ads, but more so, inspired by what I read. Great offer, Rachel! :)

    I think your laissez faire, unorthodox holiday celebrations are just right. No pressure, no rules…enjoying things as they come. Thanks for sharing!

  18. December 21, 2012 2:14 pm

    I too long to do a road trip in December. It makes sense to me. Hubby is off the second week of January – maybe we’ll do one then. Thanks for the inspiration. And that magazine looks gorgeous. Happy Holidays, Rachel. xo

  19. dawn permalink
    December 21, 2012 2:34 pm

    I would love to find time to read a SUN subscription! :)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 21, 2012 3:41 pm

      wish I could do a giveaway for TIME.

  20. December 21, 2012 2:44 pm

    Is there a better way to wake up than to a plea for bacon? :) Enjoyed this post very much.

  21. Melissa H permalink
    December 21, 2012 3:44 pm

    Happy holidays and enjoy your trip! I love road trips!

  22. Carolina permalink
    December 21, 2012 3:52 pm

    I have never heard of the Sun, but it sounds fantastic (as does holiday time at your homestead). If the giveaway is still live, sign me up as a possible Sun subscriber!

  23. December 21, 2012 3:52 pm

    I love how happy and comfortable your family is in their own version of tradition. Seems relaxed and joyful rather than harried or obligatory. Well done! I love The Sun too. Count me in.

  24. December 21, 2012 5:01 pm

    i can’t decide which i like better, the half ass wrapped rum or the cold frame buried in snow. love you, ENJOY YOUR TRIP!

  25. December 21, 2012 5:08 pm

    Throw me in the hat too! Thanks for sharing, have a beautiful vacation!

  26. Lisa permalink
    December 21, 2012 5:44 pm

    i second an earlier comment – your blog is truly a gift.
    warmest wishes for a happy new year!

  27. Jan permalink
    December 21, 2012 5:50 pm

    I hope you all have a wonderful trip through the high desert and I wish I could join you. And all that bacon! David the Younger says the only thing better than bacon is MORE bacon and I’ll bet Rose agrees! I would love to read that delicious sounding magazine so please add my name to your list. : )

    Aunt Jan

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      December 21, 2012 7:20 pm

      MORE bacon! Love it! You would love this magazine, Aunt Jan. xoxoxo

  28. Rachel Buklad permalink
    December 21, 2012 5:51 pm

    Your writing brightens up my dark days.
    I wish I knew how cool you were when you briefly lived in my town of Ashland and I could have gotten to know you more…Now I enjoy reading your blog. You have a way of using words that makes me say..”yes that is exactly how I feel” or just makes me laugh hysterically. Thank you! Happy Solstice!

  29. December 21, 2012 9:35 pm

    I want our holidays to be more like yours. yay, enter me! happy apocalypse! xo

  30. December 22, 2012 1:38 am

    Count me in! Thanks.

  31. December 22, 2012 7:15 am

    What a great time of year to give away the Sun! Shine it my way, please. :)

  32. Sara permalink
    December 22, 2012 1:16 pm

    Lovely offer and perhaps a Christmas gift to myself
    Have a wonderful trip

  33. December 22, 2012 4:07 pm

    Oh, a December road trip – I love it! What better timing for those of us obsessed with growing things :) And so funny that you mentioned ‘The Sun’ – I was just looking at this picture they sent me as part of a free trail – the one with the man and woman dancing – do you know the one I mean? I love it. Guess it’s a sign and I should subscribe. Wishing you + family a lovely, lightfilled wonderfulness of holiday.

  34. December 22, 2012 5:51 pm

    I’ve always meant to subscribe to the Sun, and never have!

  35. December 23, 2012 12:06 am

    Awesome, all of it. Laissez faire unorthodoxy? Yes. xoxoxoxo

  36. December 23, 2012 11:09 pm

    You guys will have a great trip! What fun! I’d love to be entered into the drawing. That’s one magazine I’ve heard of but haven’t checked out yet.

  37. Amanda Huddleston permalink
    December 24, 2012 5:21 am

    Like so many others have commented, I too, love your blog and find inspiration here. Thank you for the introduction to the Sun. I just got my sweet mama a subscription for Christmas! Happy Holidays!

  38. December 24, 2012 8:01 am

    oof, i could use a dose of your unorthodoxy around here, big time. and could you throw in the rum while you’re at it?? i would love to receive the Sun – I pick it up once in a while as a “treat”, and it might just be the juice to start the new year right…thank you!

  39. Chris permalink
    December 24, 2012 9:24 am

    Me! Me! Me!

    My kids are partial to Animal Planet on tv when we stay in hotels. And sugary instant oatmeal. Have fun!

  40. Emily J. permalink
    December 26, 2012 2:20 pm

    My sister who claims to be a vegetarian makes the occasional exception for bacon. What other type of meat product has that claim to fame? Ha! Would love to have a Sun subscription as an excuse to neglect my children a bit while I curl up and read it.

  41. January 5, 2015 7:41 pm

    Lidia! I’ve read The Chronology of Water three times. Each time I’m moved in a different way, a different light and dark. She’s absolutely brilliant.

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