There’s a sort of timing mismatch—I see that now—between all the horse emotions I digested last week, and the comic that I drew for today. It would have been more effective—if perhaps overwrought—to express the grief all in one go, and then take a step back from it, and move away.

But since that’s not possible, here we are. I feel a lot better. It’s so cold this morning that I didn’t want to stay outside with Paul for even a minute longer than necessary, and yet by tomorrow it’s supposed to be 74 degrees. Hell, it’s supposed to be a high of 65 today. The desert is wild.

It’s the end of the year, and I feel like I’ve done as much selling myself as I really want to do, by this point. Now, I want to hold onto the pieces I have, and see what they’ll become. That’s kind of a nice feeling. Step back from Twitter. Stop Googling yourself. Take a long bath.

It’s my sister’s birthday today (and my sister-in-law’s, and my father-in-law’s, and my friend Lyz’s, among others. A very popular day??), and by Friday evening I’ll hopefully be sitting on my dad’s couch, playing with her baby. There is, of course, always the likelihood that going home to see one’s family will be stressful, but I actually tend to idealize being at my dad’s house for Christmas, at least in anticipation. It’s not what we did when I was a little girl—we didn’t own that house, then—but it’s what we’ve been doing for quite a long time, and there will be Chessmen cookies and dried apricots and tipsy eggnog. It is, in my mind, a safe and quiet space to watch cowboy movies and hug the dog.

Last night, Dave and I went to a hotel near our house to visit their gigantic Christmas tree, and as we sat in the lounge beneath a warm but peculiar mix of old bound books and portraiture, no fewer than three groups of people asked us to take their picture in front of the tree. That’s not remarkable in itself—we also had our picture taken in front of the tree. It’s a REALLY tall tree—but what did feel of note was that it was past 9pm, and the hotel’s public spaces were still full of people in fancy dress, moving through the restaurant, the lounge, the bar, the lobby, in sequins and, at one point, a tux. It was nice to know there are places like that, in my own quiet neighborhood, which are alive with their own secret sequences, their own sets of plans.

I walk by the hotel with Paul all the time, and I’ve always loved their tree, which I generally look at through the window, as if through a window to a different world. Like being at the Nutcracker, peering through the proscenium. To a dignified place, a rarefied one. And last night we visited it.

And do you know? Everything was as I hoped it would be. Which doesn’t happen very often, but does, apparently, happen sometimes.