Friday, December 24, 2010



In our family, Christmas has always been something of a slumber party affair. It's not enough to just be in the same town as your loved ones. You really need to be in the same house, for the duration! Lex fixed us all a fabulous Beef Bourguignon for supper (though it took a bit of encouragement from her father, before she could summon the nerve to set the cognac aflame), then she could have gone home to her own nice comfy bed in Austin, only 45 minutes away, but she didn't dare. You just can't chance missing out on any of the fun!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


If there's one thing I've seen and heard over and over again this past year, it's a smirky little grin, followed by a comment along the lines of "We'll see how that goes once John is here full-time!" It was usually in response to a comment from me regarding my newly-formed eating, writing, meditating, cleaning or organizational habits. It appears their concerns were not unfounded.

Today is Christmas Eve Eve. Lex and John are both here now, and the rest of the gang comes in today. I should be giddy with excitement, thinking of all the fun we are going to have over the next few days. Instead I sit here staring at a chair, and grinding my teeth. The chair is the one John sat in night before last, and it's still sitting out in the middle of the room, where he left it when he shoved away from the table. It blocks the path from the living room to my little morning meditation spot, so I'm faced with a choice: a) shove the chair back under the table for him, as I've been doing since we first married (even though we had a discussion about this very thing the last time he was here, and he knows how much it means to me); b) continue walking all the way around the table just to get to my spot, indefinitely -- or at least until he decides to sit at the other end of the table, and blocks that route as well.

Of course, you realize, don't you, that the chair is not an isolated incident, but instead represents our particular dance, as it has been choreographed over the last 35 years. The subject came up last night as we watched a Christmas movie together. I think Lex asked what the plans were for the next day, and I probably replied with something like "Clean up all Dad's messes before Kathy and Bud get here. They both snorted and rolled their eyes, then John said "We never shoulda let her stay up here alone for so long. Guess it's time to snap her back to reality!"

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I really don't believe that. I think it just takes a whole lotta patience -- more patience than most humans have. How much do I have? I guess we're about to find out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


One of the things on my 12-yr.-old niece's wish list this year was "A Lego Game." I didn't know Lego made games, so I went in search of one. Being in the Lego department again brought back such great memories of Christmases past. In fact, not too long ago my son said he really missed getting a big Lego set each year, and that Christmas just hasn't been the same since.

I picked up the Minotaur game for my niece, and read over the instructions on the back. Much to my surprise, it sounded pretty fun--not too childish, something even I might enjoy playing. Then my eyes wandered to the other game choices. One was a pirate game. Have I mentioned that my son's birthday happens to fall on National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and that he once showed up at school clad as a pirate in honor of the dual celebration? Another choice was a Harry Potter game. My daughter's dream vacation is to go Universal Studios in Orlando, so that she can visit Harry Potter World.

My gut started whispering that one is never too old for a great board game showdown with the cousins during the holidays. My gut was right on the money.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


My sister-in-law Dani drew my name for Christmas this year. Apparently she reads my blog occasionally. Not only does she read it, she pays attention. How else could you account for this amazing assortment of chocolates, teas, and tea accoutrement? My future tea parties have just been kicked up to a whole new level. Why, she even included a CD, for proper tea-sipping ambience!

Uh-oh. Know what I just realized? I was in such a hurry to get my out-of-town gifts mailed off, I forgot to take any pictures first! Hey Ohio and Wisconsin clan - please take pics and send them back this way, for post-Christmas blog posting!

The first of my peeps (John) arrives today, and starts the snowball a-rollin'. Yikes. Christmas is really here! As usual, these last few days are gonna be a bit crazy. No matter how hard you try to plan ahead and stay on top of it all, there will always be stuff that has to be done at the very last minute: shopping for perishables; cooking; going to the laundromat and remaking guest beds, so the kids don't have to move to sleeping bag and sofa any sooner than necessary; cleaning the guest bathrooms, so they don't get messed up again; not setting the table with Christmas finery until everyone has finished their package wrapping, etc.; not sweeping the porch too soon, since our trees are still dropping leaves and it just wouldn't last... This is always so frustrating to me! I would much prefer to complete everything before anyone arrives, then spend the next several days sipping tea and reading a good book, but you just can't put life on hold, now can you?

Monday, December 20, 2010


I had to wake myself up out of a really bad dream this morning. I won't go into the gory details (I'm doing my best to forget them) but it was obvious that someone was trying to send me a message. The message was this: we need to get John's health back under control before we head off on our Aventure Francaise this May.

He was doing so well in the months right after his bypass surgery, but then along came the BP affair. Being tied to the call center around the clock for weeks on end (which BP was keeping stocked with doughnuts, ice cream and candy), having to eat whatever the in-house caterers happened to bring in, and not getting any exercise other than an occasional quick walk down the hallway, well, it set off a downward spiral that John has never quite managed to pull himself out of.

He's supposed to be meeting up with his new cardiologist in Austin sometime soon (handpicked, and even trained, by his Houston specialist) and I'm hoping he can hook us up with some type of rehab/exercise program for cardio patients -- of the sort John should have been enrolled in as soon as he recovered from the surgery, but which somehow fell through the cracks. Cuz, 'though I really want this dream trip to be memorable, I sure don't want it to be because John keeled over in the middle of it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


...even if I am Jerseylicious!

When I was a kid of 8 or 9, and my big sister was about 16, on rare occasions she would succumb to my incessant pleas for her to fix my hair like a teenager--which meant to rat it up and use lots of hairspray the way she did each morning. My very favorite "do" was when she gave me either pigtails or a ponytail "with a bubble on top." I thought it made me look like a "Go-Go Dancer", and would have given my eyeteeth for a pair of white Go-Go boots to complete the look.

Lately I've noticed that, thanks to singers like Amy Winehouse, and the invention of something called "Bumpits", those dos are coming back into vogue. What I didn't know is that they are also quite popular with the stars of a certain reality show called Jersey Shores, otherwise I might not have pestered big sis into working her magic on me this weekend. On the other hand, what is more fun than having someone play Beauty Shop with you? I guess it was worth the new nickname.