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I’m having a hard time gearing up for Christmas. After two drafts, our annual Christmas letter remains as dull as a worn-down pencil-point. During Thanksgiving week, I completed the third draft of my book manuscript and, after the intense effort, feel at loose ends. There’s the rub.

To beat the funk yesterday, I decided to play games with myself – be a little lazy and watch Sunday afternoon football with Keith. It never takes much to get me involved a game. Whether the score is close or a blowout, I root for the underdog.

“You can do it, Texans,” and then when Houston was on top of New England, “Come on, Patriots!” It was the same for the Broncos and Chiefs, Bears and Vikings, Titans and Colts. It didn’t matter which teams won, I felt sorry for the losers – Houston, Kansas City, Chicago, Tennessee.

Perhaps football wasn’t the most effective game for beating the “it’s all over” blues.

So I played another game. I draped the artificial garlands over the loft railings, hoping the embedded lights would breathe some inspiration into me. “Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming,” but not for three weeks. I needed a more immediate kick-start.

LaGrandeArmee“The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!” And the Imperial Army of France, La Grande Armée, readies to meet them.

This coming weekend, Keith hosts a Napoleonic period War Game, with cavalry, infantry and artillery to scale and action technically and tactically authentic. The field of battle will be in Prussia and Poland – our garage. Rolls of dice and wits of division and brigade commanders will determine the outcome of the battle – and perhaps some kibitzing from observers.

With an army to shelter and feed – two armies, to be more accurate – I’ve got my hands full with meal menus, food shopping and preparation, house cleaning and bed making. Heathcliff and Freya will have their monthly baths in order to pass inspection – all must be ship-shape.

Les Russes arrivent, et les Français sont prêts. Go underdog!

End of funk, fin du blues.