Saturday, December 24, 2011
December 2011...read at your own risk.
1. This year, I opted to send my children money for Christmas so they could buy individual gifts or a large family gift. So far I only know of one large family gift that is being purchased and I approve but I also have heard of most of the individual gifts of which I also approve. I should have gone ahead and bought the M2T2's gifts because I knew better. M2 doesn't like to shop. And as of last night she still hasn't.
2. At first I thought this was a great idea...the kids are getting older and living not near them, how would I know what they'd like. AND THEN THERE'S THE COST OF SHIPPING. Good grief. I understand that the use of the Internet has decreased the use on the postal service but it is rather expensive. Then, when I really had very little to buy, I was sad. I miss the hustle and bustle of crowds. I actually like the hustle and bustle....UNTIL I realized that my foot would not have allowed it anyway. Seems that my good leg decided heel spurs would be the 'in' thing to have and you know how painful this is. So hustling and bustling would never be in the cards for 2011 Christmas shopping...but I still missed it.
3. Baking...who do I bake for? There's no one around except for Robert and he gets baked for all the time. It's not the same when there's no party throwing. And why were there no parties thrown? Because for the past 4 years, Robert has been on afternoon shifts. Which means he leaves at 12:30pm and returns home well after 12:30pm. PLUS he's often worked 7 days a week and has 3 bosses. His life is horrible at work and yet he NEVER brings it home. He's as kind and generous as ever. But he's exhausted. When he does get up, he wants breakfast. But then it's time for lunch and he's satisfied with soup and sandwiches. Trying to find something to pack in his lunch isn't easy because he's not too much into heating things up while at work because there's no time. He has to eat whatever I pack on the run, in shifts, if at all. NOT FAIR. And he's beat...beat...beat. There's never a week that we know for certain if he has Saturday off and if so, he's too tired to really feel much like entertaining. But I did bake some things finally last week plus I tried my hand at making Truffles on Robert's request. And toffee. I haven't made my most favorite cookies and i want to but I am overweight and actually have no taste for cookies. Maybe next year...Maybe next month.
I can remember years and years with young children in the home, lots of cookies and altho I am grateful for the past, I want the past to be the present. Pout. Pout. Pout.
BUT FOR THE RECORD...and having faith that this is really going to happen...Robert is taking over for a man who will retire this week. AND YAY...BACK TO DAYLIGHT SHIFT! I still am holding my breath for fear this is not for real. He will be back to having only 1 boss. And altho he might work extra days, at least he will be home for dinner. And that means we can go back to having friends over and enjoying a social life. And really best of all, I can go back to cooking dinners. Real live dinners. It's not that I do not like to go out to eat...I DO!....but I also like to cook for my man. He's always so appreciative...and I love to find new recipes. So I can start the new year off making menus, shopping lists, and cooking.
4. Altho Christmas is so much more than presents...it is the start of the Atonement, when Christ willingly left his kingship in heaven to come down as mortal man, to live a perfect a life, to instruct, to leave a message of His gospel, to die for our sins that we might, through repentance and holding to the iron rod, return to Him...even knowing all that, it still is fun to buy a present for your husband. But what in the world do we need...what do we want? Absolutely nothing. Big sigh....we want to be healthy. I want to be healthier and smaller. So we opted to give each other membership at the new YMCA, about 10 minutes from home. This we've just started to do. But going to the pool and seeing these skinny minny nubile young high school girls swim makes me sad. Watching these older, professional women work up a sweat on the machines make me wonder what they get out of it. But I love the mornings and with Robert (again I say hopefully) on day shift, we can be at the pool and swim at 5:30am and I relish that thought. I'm not a good swimmer. My mom wore nose plugs and so I wore nose plugs. I am now learning to swim without them. But it is so relaxing to swim laps, then spend 20 minutes in what I call the arthritic pool, and then 5 minutes in the whirlpool.
The Arthritic Pool the first day lead me to chat with a woman and her husband. She's had knees and hips replaced and had been through the aqua therapy and I learned from her. He's got cancer but is doing better. The best part was in learning that they both knew my Uncle Ted and Aunt Natalie Swintek. He was a retired Cleveland cop and my uncle was a Cleveland detective. He said that Ted was the nicest man, and when this man was only a rookie, only Ted would stoop to talk to him and help him learn the ropes. He commented that Ted had the biggest hands and heart of anyone he's ever known. She wondered where Natalie had gone because they used to be in the Cleveland Polish Genealogical Society together. It's always a small world when you make a connection. I have spent some time being a big sad over the decades missed with this side of my relatives but circumstances are what they are and that's how it goes. Janet sent me a Christmas card yesterday and comments, let's stay in touch. Oh, I so shall.
5. And then there's this eye thing. It's not bad enough that I can't get the weight off, that I can only limp around (are you still with me, am I pouty enough yet?), now suddenly, in December my left eye started acting up. I first feared pink eye but it was never that. Thank goodness. But it kept getting worse. Finally on Thursday, when I awoke with my eyelid swollen shut I decided it was time to see the doctor. Sadly, she didn't know what it was either. But I'm on a system of steroid drops and steroid pills to combat whatever nasty infection is on my lid. Worse part? She said I cannot wear makeup until it heals. And I have to throw away all my makeup. What? I love my makeup. Ask my girls who I also tried to get to love makeup and was only partially successful. I checked out the Lacome lady who told me how to rescue my expensive brushes rather than toss them away. Her 4 pack of eye shadow was $48. Are you kidding me? Not happening even though Robert said he'd buy it for me. I am not that stupid, nor are we that wealthy. Off to Kohls I went and luckily they had one last seasonal palette of 40 shades for only $29. With a new mascara in hand, a 15% coupon, I got both for only $30. Way better. But seeing out of my left eye is still a problem. And the problem is more in that I have to accompany the church choir tomorrow. As I practice at home, I look down to be sure my left hand is positioned correctly, can't see for sure, look back up to the notes and have no idea where I am. This is going to be such a challenge but I swear, I am up to it. I know the music.,..I've circled all the sharps and flats for when the eyes don't find the notes at least I know to find a black key...and it will be fine...one way or another. PLUS...as long as I don't misplay, the choir is fully capable of carrying the program just fine....even if I stop playing. Most of you reading this won't be there to hear and those that sing won't read this so they'll be fine as well. I assure you, the program will be lovely. But again, what does age affect us so often, in so many ways. Marissa will done day get my baby grand piano and for one day last week, I thought it might be sooner than either of us had expected.
6. OK...now here's the really bizarre part of my December. There's a smell in my house. One only I can smell...and not all the time. Suddenly. And only in 2 places. One is near the grand piano. One is just as I walk into the family room from the garage/laundry room. It's distinct and I know the smell. I've smelt the smell before, in the past. But I cannot locate the source. I've been on my hands/knees sniffing like Niko. Nothing. There's no spot of dog mistake. There's not food. There's no stain. There's no dead mouse, as Daphne asked. Nothing...but this sudden and occasional smell. And it disturbs me. Then on Wednesday of last week, when once again I smelled it, I had Robert sit at the piano and sniff. He smelled nothing. Nada. Zip. Drats. A few hours later, I was sitting at the piano again, and the odor returned. I just sat there and breathed it in. Quietly. Calmly. And tried to bring to mind where that smell had come from in the past. And suddenly, I had it. It was the smell this house had after my mom had died, when only Roger lived here. It was in the bedroom furniture I had given to Jordan/Hillary and they washed/scrubbed/aired it out before using. Not that it was dirty...just that they made it clean and fresh and theirs. That was the smell. Isn't that odd? I am not saying Bonpapa comes in to check on us. I don't see ghosts but wouldn't mind seeing my deceased relatives. I am not suggesting that...just telling what happens. And Bonpapa always sat near that place in the front room to read his scriptures and always sat on that end of the couch in the family room, watching TV, close enough for him to hear the shows. Yes it is coincidental. But once I realized it, I haven't smelled it since. But suddenly, I miss my relatives who are long gone. My father who I never got to know. My grandmother and Poppy who I idolized and whose piano I sit at. My daddy who was there in my life. My mom...oh how I miss her. And Bonpapa..and his goodness and his lists. I was trying to find some photos for Jocelyn and ended up seeing a picture of my mom's dog, Shadow who was such a lover...sitting next to my dog Lady who did not like Shadow, who did not want to be made to sit next to her for a pix...and suddenly I was missing Lance, Lady, Candy, and poor Phineas (Cara's dog who got run over twice by the school bus). I miss all my pets..birds, toads, dogs, anyone else's pets who I have known. And suddenly, I make myself sad over the prospect of one day having to bury Niko...what will I do? I fear he will be my last. I do not want to be 80 and have to bear that sorrow. And I so want to be able to cavort with them again in the next life. Such silly reasons to be sad.
7. 809. I loved 809 and I miss 809. I hate going past it so I usually do not unless I am picking up Daphne. That house was so good and so kind and so perfect. I fear it feels unloved or deserted by us. Sadly, I love to put human emotions to inanimate things. There's a word for this but right now I cannot come up with it. But one morning this month, as I was going down the upstairs hall here at 3830, I looked up at this octagonal window at the top of the stairs and knew I was in love with this house. I suddenly knew how my mom felt about it (and that made me glad). It's not perfect yet, not yet '809' but getting closer.
So that brings me to yesterday. Yesterday Pam and I made our pilgrimage to Sandusky to shop at Meijer. We left at 6am, had breakfast at Steak n Shake (well, OK, I had breakfast, Pam had a double burger. and I ask how does she stay thin?) and then wandered aimlessly through Meijer. We didn't go for any particular thing. I was happy to get a bunch of rolls of wrapping paper that was already marked way down. Do you know, I haven't bought any wrapping paper for any occasion since my mom died. She had rolls and rolls of the stuff as did I. Plus Jerry Blazina gave me a huge bag full of it a few years ago. But in order to leave rolls and rolls of it to my kids, I felt I needed to restore some of it. Suddenly, Pam calls out, "LOOK AT THIS". And there was THE purchase of the season. You know I collect Nativities. I will not even through out the extremely beautiful ceramic one my aunt made us for our first Christmas 1972 despite the fact it appears Mary 'ran' away. I keep hoping she'll make me another Mary. But this is what I bought.
This is the Charlie Brown nativity set. I'm not an animated show lover but who doesn't love Charlie Brown's Christmas or even his Halloween? Plus I also have his Christmas tree with the one lone red ornament that plays his song..and now it stands right behind the new nativity.
And for whatever reason, suddenly all things got put right. I know my family who have gone ahead of me still check in on me even tho I can't see them. I'm 62 and I have the right be a bit decrepit. And I can get healthier if not skinnier. Thanx to Teri, I was reminded that being in good shape looks different on all people. I was blessed to have had 5 kids and have enjoyed so many Christmas programs....the line I always recite came from Marissa's I think, one year...paraphrased, it's the best, it's the best, it's the best part of Christmas...and "it" is whatever you are talking about. And i have so many ITs. Robert has a good job...he has a job. We have a wonderful family tree of relatives gone, relatives here, and hopefully relatives yet to be found. They've given me my heritage and my memories. I have kids who still love me. Grandkids who love for me to show up. Dawn who is always a willing Skype moment away (with kids who will pop up and make faces and share skill or a new paper craft ...that was adelle last wee), Cara who has more faith than anyone else I know (and kids who texs me); jocelyn who is never able to chat long but has invited us to spend Christmas with her and her loving, and more busy kids/hubby. We will leave right from church and travel to PA), Marissa who was smart enough to move back to Lakewood and who with the 2 Henrys will call up and invite us to join them for dinner, or show up at our door, and Jordan and his wonderful family who are always willing to have us come and stay and promises to update our bathrooms....and do anything else we need. Oh yes, I have been blessed with wonderful kids and inlaws and grands. I have friend too numerous to count. I love the paper crafts the cutting program even on the dreaded Cricut and one day it will die and I can get an eClips (or who knows...might win one tomorrow fromSVGcuts). I have been taught by my grandmother and mother to knit and still love to do that with fingers that are still capable. I love being born in this age of technology.
And best of all I have a testimony of the mission and truth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I was blessed to have been found out by missionaries tracting door to door and in a family smart enough to hear the truth and to accept the restored gospel with all its covenants and promises.
So for now...my pouting moment is over. Time to click the button and hear the Charlie Brown tune again, make the last Lego advent calendar item, bake the bread for the Sacrament service tomorrow, visit my wonderful godparents, and then tonight at midnight open the front and back doors to 3830 and allow the Christ Child to walk through my home, blessing it for another year, and OPEN GIFTS. Yes I have figured out a few to surprise Robert and there are others under the tree....Wonderful discoveries yet to be made in the new year. But if you need me, you'll find me in PA...call anytime. Would love to rejoice with you in all our goodnesses.