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(And no, this is not the blog post I am so proud of. This is a quick, thought of the moment post– the one I’m proud of is on afteryeswedid.wordpress.com. If you’re an Obama fan or liberal or activist or general stirrer upper, take a look at it, if not, don’t. Please. I want you to continue to be my friend.)

Anyway– isn’t it weird the morbid thoughts you have when you’re a mom, not to mention a stressed out one with a, er, creative turn of mind?

Life is short. I’ve been thinking a long time about how important it is to do what matters most each day– some looking to the future, some time spent on habits today that will make me happier and healthy both today and in the future (exercise, spirituality, cleaning or creative work) some documenting of the precious memories of the past, but without fail making sure I also just stop and spend some moments right here right now.

I might be sitting quietly with my little girl, admiring the million and one things about her that, if I just stop and pay attention, never fail to remind me that the Universe is a good place– from quiet things like her tiny freckles on her snub nose and her thick eyelashes, to big things like her insane sense of humor (my fault, I taught her farts were funny when she was twoish, now she’s five, she makes fart jokes all the time, it’s not that funny any more to anyone but her).  I might be just holding my husband’s hand in silence for five minutes, just nothing but being there. I might be deeply absorbed in just enjoying the feel of my body and senses engaged in a long walk or yoga or 30 min of Shimmy, my favorite exercise class, or really engaged in helping a child with homework at the library.

So I’ve been trying to pack up my fall holiday through Christmas stuff in some logical fashion since Epiphany. Half of it is still lying all over my room — crafts, wrapping stuff, items hoarded for next year. My husband has been in cleaning mode for a few weeks and finally got pissed off stuck the lids on the boxes before I’d finished packing and cataloging, and put the boxes which took up our entire dining room on into the attic without asking me.

He said he figured it had been long enough. I said well, it hurts my feelings to think you think I took too long (even though I know I did take too long, because I am so freakin’ detail oriented I just sink, every time) but it makes me feel good to re-frame that into, I took them on upstairs and threw them into the attic because I didn’ t want you to have to worry about them any more. He smiled and seemed to take note — she didn’t take too long. I just didn’t want her to have to worry about it any more.

So I’m doing the last of the packing up and cataloging today. And I’ve thought this several times.  I have always thought that the Law of Attraction is true– you think happy thoughts, expect good things, those good things come. You worry, you attract just what you’re worried about.

Having talked with my mother through the ordeal of my grandmother’s stroke and very gradual recovery and watched Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God– and being the agnostic/new age/eastern/healing school/hardcore former Southern Baptist that I am… I have come to believe that life is just random. No justice. Just– sometimes you are blessed beyond belief, sometimes you get struck down.

There may be a plan for all of this. Even my healing school teacher says hindsight always shows that what you thought was hard at the time ended up being a precious growth experience.  But it’s still random, as far as our understanding goes.

So as I pack each little hoarded item– gifts and ornaments bought half price at Walmart after Christmas, gifts from friends that will be wonderful to decorate/cheer the house up next year, the world’s most expensive origami cranes (paper from Pottery Barn, probably two bucks a crane and incredibly difficult to fold), craft books… I am so excited. As long as it has taken me to get them organized cataloged labeled (including ‘open on’ date) I can’t wait til next year to pull all this out.

So please Lord. I know there’s either a plan I don’t know about whereby everything turns out just as it should, even when it’s not as we think it should be or want it to be, or that it’s completely random and we really can’t change destiny– not because it’s set in stone but because it is just– randome. We cannot divine when these things might occur.

So I make lots of requests, all the time. And I’m not always as grateful as I should be. but I do ask, in Jesus name, for another Christmas with loved ones. I pray for a Christmas full of at least similar gratitude, joy and fun, and more. I claim it, darn it, just like that chaplain praying over my poor Grammy critically injured by that damn stroke– a holiday season that blesses me and every single person I know and don’t know from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet.

I’d like a similar family configuration, preferably with my Grammy at some considerable level of recovery and quality of life, but at the very least my spouse and children and parents and dearest friends, preferably with a great deal less worry than I was experiencing last year the weeks before Christmas when she was struck down.

Please let me open these boxes next October or so and see the season through with joy and hope and comfort for me, my family, and everyone we know and don’t know.

Amen.

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Macaroni and ‘cheeze’ (yummy, yummy vegan sauce from fatfreevegan.com) with peas in and baked with french fried onions on top, black eyed peas (so darn good cooked with a little onion and some salt and pepper), cabbage sauteed with very finely chopped onion in vegan butter with a bit of lemon juice salt and pepper,  corn bread, and– oh my gosh these were sooo good, way better than they should have been– pumpkin pie brownies from the PPK, each decorated with nine chocolate chips for our new year.

Oh. Man. These aren’t fit to eat. You better not have any.

My husband has no sweet tooth– his favorite dessert is seconds or thirds– but he finished his and the baby’s too. That is unprecedented. I can’t remember him doing that ever, in our life together. He likes dark chocolate, and I get him the expensive stuff, and he eats, like, one square per day. And once in a while he’ll have an ice cream sandwich with the baby. And that’s the extent of it.

Wait. One time when we were dating and watching Chocolat, between us we finished off a whole pan– all eight of my awesome huge apple dumplings.

But never since.

I think part of the reason they (the brownies, the dumplings are another story) were so good was that I made my own pumpkin puree. I had promised my stepson pumpkin pie for Christmas dinner, and then the one my husband bought frozen came out of the box really scary looking… This year, for the second year in a row my attempt to grow pumpkins in the garden so my baby could pick her own was a miserable failure. But I still had two small sugar pumpkins I’d bought at Halloween but hadn’t decorated (hoping Daddy would cut one with the baby but I am telling you, the season was passing us by even then! I cut two white pumpkins into skulls with black glitter eye sockets and mouths, but that was it), they weren’t looking or smelling bad yet, so I cut ’em, scraped out the seeds, roasted ’em and scraped the yummy bits away from the peel and pureed in the food processor.

My improvised vegan pumpkin pie was, well, okay, pretty yummy, but, well, just okay. My stepson ate three pieces which made me feel better but… you know. He has my terrible sweet tooth, in fact his is worse than mine. And I am just thankful I didn’t renege on my promise. Food is serious stuff, at my house. It is absolutely a currency or language of love for me anyway, and now it is one of the few remaining ways I can reach out to my two teenagers.

So some times you improvise and it is okay, sometimes it’s stellar, sometimes it would have been better if you hadn’t… But I think the fresh homemade pumpkin puree is what put these brownies over the top. They were just–ooooh, too good!

It was all so tasty. I’m right proud of myself– simple and country (cept for those decadent pumpkin brownies!), but healthy and elegant too.  Yum, yum, yum!  Another New Year’s Resolution:  Keep working on adding soul food flavor and Southern fried satisfaction to vegan meals. Mmm. Mmm.

Okay I’ll just tell you.

I usually try to have at least one party during the season. I’m a solstice kind of gal.  And I try to be doing something really special NYE even if it’s just with my little nu ke ler family. But in recent years I haven’t been able to sucker any of my hot mom friends, as my husband calls them, into throwing big glamorous debauched yet child-friendly parties, and last year I seem to remember blogging about my fervent desire for midnight to come so I could go to bed (rest of ’em in there playing World of Warcraft, GET a LIFE!). And this year so many things happened so quickly– I’ll be ready next year, dammit!

So this year I made bird feeders out of peanut  butter, pine cones (ouch, those bitches have spines!) and bird seed with my baby in the a.m., worked in the p.m. and… I should be ashamed, but I guess I’m too old to care… I spent the evening watching the Dog the Bounty Hunter marathon. Yes, I did.

It was on when I got home from work about seven– my husband said he couldn’t turn it off, he’d been watching all afternoon while he was rearranging our living room, getting rid of a bunch of bulky crap since he put the flat screen TV above the fireplace.

We never even turned it off. Could… not… get… away… I did cook supper– made him pause it every couple episodes to take a few more steps toward getting our yummy yummy home made sweet potato rolls and ‘loppy joes’ my kid calls ’em ready, but we didn’t have supper til like nine or ten and then my husband looked at his phone and said we missed it! It’s twelve o three!

What?!?

This year the house is freakin’ chaos from all the traveling we’ve been doing, and then we threw Christmas and the new TV and my grandma’s shocker, totally unexpected stroke on top. I’m exhausted. I’ve just had it. We’ve had good holidays but not one thing has been the ‘just so’ that I like it to be at this time of year. And yesterday I’d worked six hours straight not one break– you’d be surprised how many people come to the public library on New Year’s Eve. Get a LIFE!

I really enjoyed that stupid show. I couldn’t even summon up any guilt or shame at all. We snorted a little of the champagne we forgot until my husband realized we’d totally missed midnight, watched all the Dogs that were left that we hadn’t seen and one AbFab and went to bed about three.

This is so unlike me.

I am NOT a night person. Staying up late has never been me. I’m evidently going through some life change.

Then, I am all about the ritual, the anticipation of the arbitrary turning points and defining moments each year. And I freakin’ HATE TV. Well I hate it except for Noggin and a few shows I love and wish I could watch but then due to ADD and life in general never can remember to watch them let alone sit still long enough. Honestly, I think we’d all be so much better off without it. I know I am. Or if we could  all just balance electronics consumption with nature consumption and physical exercise consumption, you know?

But every once in a while a show comes along and I can’t tear myself away. I watched Fox constantly while pregnant five years ago, it was the runup to the Iraq war and I was on the edge of my seat. I watched Monarch of the Glen faithfully, it was the highlight of my week–until those bastards killed off Hector– I felt so betrayed!! I’m just glad I didn’t buy it for my grandma!

Then we were horribly addicted to all three seasons of Flavor of Love, had a brief fling with that rock band singer show, watched The Riches until it just ate up my nerves too bad, I loved it so much but I just take TV way too seriously! And we catch up on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert once every week or two. We do a bit of NetFlix– we just did that Eddie Izzard that isn’t Dressed to Kill and I about fell off the couch laughing– but a movie will come and it will take us weeks to watch it. They are making a bundle off us.

So. Dog the Bounty Hunter. I haven’t had this much trouble turning a show off since we finally realized we’d seen every single episode of Reno 911 at least twice.

The good news is, I think we’ve seen every single episode of Dog now too. Thank God. I don’t have to do that again. And… I love the show, but I noticed he doesn’t pick up any murderers or gangsters– just pitiful, sad people with pitiful problems on the wrong side of the law. And he prays! Out loud!

But I still loved it!

And now I know my summer hairdo will be somewhere between Natasha Bedingfield’s cute blonde shag and Beth’s (Dog’s wife’s) fried white locks. I just dyed it back black and love it, I don’t know why I am even thinking like this!!! Yep, some nice acrylic nails will look good too.

Yes people, I am so tired. I don’t know when I am going to get un tired. Until I do, trivial crap is good.

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