Friday, January 9, 2009

Is it over???

Are they all gone? No more shouting, running, crinkling more crowds....the Gregorian Chants are put away?

How about that other thing, that stuff on the teevee where they show every single human being in the world (well, of course YOU weren't there, Mom) standing around with goofy glasses and drinking stuff and shouting? That's overwith too? (Although -- you know, we did notice the extra treats that came our way, you're going to keep that up, yes?) I've noticed that it seems to be a big bag of Back-to-Normal around here, but I'm not coming out unless I'm SURE because you know, what passes for merriment to you guys is nothing but UNBRIDLED CHAOS to Lilliane and me. Let's not have another episode of that, all right? All right then.

So where HAVE you been, Dale-Harriet, and what were you up to? Well, I was up to about 4'11" (insert raucous laughter, I'm so funny). But seriously -- I've been languishing, I guess. And I must admit it: I've checked my regular blogs that I read and taken satisfaction from the fact that it seems like quite a few of us have sort of gone all vague during the holidays. But now it's new: a new year, a new beginning, "out with the old, in with the new". I do love the holidays, I'd be lying if I said otherwise, but they exhaust me. And even though it's been 45 years since Christmas 1963 when my cherished Daddy died around 3:00 a.m. on Christmas Day there's always a moment when I feel exactly like I felt when I picked up the phone and heard my poor brother-in-law say "Your father's dead." Sometimes it's just a twinge of recollection; sometimes I spend an hour or so in recollection, but it's as keen these 45 years later. So there's that.

But for the most part, the holidays here are like they are everywhere else, and I'm glad to say we tend to keep out the commercialism for the most part. Presents? We get a good book and a small plaything for each little grandchild and that's it. We also adopt a family and spend some time shopping for items with their wish list in our fists. That's FUN.

We've done this for a few years, and it's always been a single mom with two or three kids. They give us a list with first names, ages, and each puts one or two things they'd much admire to have. There is a price limit, but we sort of use our best judgement. I was super-delighted - the Mommy said she'd like lotions or bath oils. You know, those lovely girlie things that you just NEVER buy for yourself when you're a single mom with kids (been there, done that). So I took myself to Bath & Body Works (you can look it up, I'm not going to link, but it's easy to find if you want to). It just so happens, I LURVE their stuff, and they do have very good sales at holiday times.

DIGRESSION WARNING: See, they make a hand lotion called "Ultimate Silk" (well, I think they might be discontinuing it, so they must have found out how much I like it on account of, isn't that the way it always works?) ANYway. I'm wise to them, so I have probably half-a-dozen bottles of it in various scents, because it smells wonderful, is very soothing on my knobbular fists - and (this is true, I'm not making it up) you can knit IMMEDIATELY after putting it on!! My current pash is "Sensual Amber" -- I think I've referred to it before. If it conjures up images of a lithe, dark-skinned beauty lying on embroidered silks draped in diaphenous garments floating on the musky breezes....the joke's on YOU! Because I'm short, knobbular (see above) and tend to scrunch into a little knot under about 15 lbs of woolen blankets. But I smell terrific!!

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the Holidays at Chez CatsSticksandBooks:

We had considerable snow, which I really LOVE. We did have an unfortunate thaw that reduced it by some, but fortunately it chilled back down and we're almost back up to our record-breaking depths. In case you don't recognise it, this is Lucy, my beloved little lilac bush. Remember this image, because in about four months I'll show you what she looks like in her splended, fragrant glory. Anyone who doubts that there's some form of deity (or you know, deities) can look at my scrawny brown little lilac up to her {clearing throat} in snow and realize that there'll be green and heart-shaped leaves and the world's nicest little flowers on here.

We do celebrate Christmas at our house - notice all the little hearts on the tree? (I might've mentioned this before, like last year - nevermind). Every year I give Mr Dearling a new Heart for the tree. (He hasn't actually gotten the one for this year yet - I'll show it to you and explain; let's just say it has to do with .... well no, he reads this. I'll show you later. Nevermind.)

We also celebrate Chanukah, as I have all my life. This is actually after Christmas; Chanukah goes by the lunar calendar and isn't the same days any year. This year it started before Christmas and ended on the 29th. But I do like the menorah in its full glory -- now, because the lighted menorah is not to be moved, I light the candles when I can be there with them until they burn down (usually not much over a half-hour).

Otherwise, I must confess, I have an electric menorah with blue flame-shaped bulbs. Tacky? oooh, pretty much. But I can leave it alone with cats in the house, dontcha know. I'm not sure what the actual Hebrew prayer is for that one ("Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who -- commands us to plug in the lights of Chanukah?" eeeeeww) but it's safe. Also, the menorah is supposed to be seen in a window from outside - and this one can be (albeit only by the next-door neighbors if they should happen to look)....I'm obviously making some concessions here. The advantage of being your Ethnic Jew, rather than more of a religious one.

By the way, there was a highlight of the Chanukah celebration this year. It seems that the entirely adorable daughter of Kitty Mommy discovered "Honka"; being That Sort of Mommy, they hit the library and read all about it, made their own menorah with little battery-operated tea lights, &c &c. So they came over the last night of "Honka" and we had latkes with sour cream and (Kitty Mommy's VERY superior) applesauce with cinnamon, played dreidl and generally had a marvelous visit! If you read her blog, you'll see that they celebrated "Honka" wonderfully well, and much the way we did when my babies were little. Somewhere I have a wonderful picture of the year that #1 Son helped his little brother (Son #2) light the candles; it was traditionally the job of the "eldest son" to light them, but that year he wanted to share. At the time, #1 son was probably six years old and #2 Son was two years old. It's a darling picture - in fact, they were wearing yarmulkes I'd crocheted for them. (Ah, the Auld Days.)

So anyway! Here are a few pictures from various holi-days : This is my baby, my last-born, and I remember his tiny infant face on those nights when I sat up watching the beautiful snowfall out the window as I nursed him. Someone came and traded him out for this guy with the beard! Seems to me it was a while ago, like - maybe 37 years. You have to watch these things EVERY MINUTE!! (OK, I think he's extremely handsome, truth to tell, and his children are - like their cousins - my hearts.) The lad is bright and clever and often pensive and thoughtful; the girl is a delightful pre-teen (her dad says "not always delightul) and "HA! Taller than you, Grandma!" that's odd or something.

Here's #2 Son and family - next year I'll remember to go for a portrait of THEM (although we did get "formal" pictures of the boys which are eye-wateringly beautiful). We gave the older boy a very cool set of magnetic pieces you can build cars and stuff with (notice DAD enjoying assembling something) and the younger boy a very fine elephant (Folkmanis puppet) which was a BIG hit! He's into ellyfamps this year.

And here, a sight which warms my heart - my Lovely Daughter! She's making a beautiful herringbone scarf in hot-pink and match the mittens and cap I'm knitting for #1 Son's dear lady (she's the mom of those two firecrackers ...uhm.... pistols ...that is, two DARLING little boys seen above). They're not Christmas presents, as she requested them when they were over that day........BUT still. Lovely Daughter wanted in the fun so she volunteered a nice scarf, which this is. ("That pattern's easy, Mom!") Yeah, and some people to trapeze tricks too.

I am glad to report that 1) the mittens are FINISHED; 2) the cap is NEARLY-FINISHED; and 3) I *did* finish the Dr Who scarf and the shawl I was working on. Watch for pix in future.

OK, this is MORE than enough for one day. Tune in later for "the rest of the story", including comments about a product Mr Dearling found that is altogether TOO way cool and some other tidbits. I am glad to say that (as you can see) I survived the holidays mostly intact, and have pulled up my sagging stockings, stretched my back and am back to whatever-passes-for-normal-around-here.

Now I'm off to put up my hair, climb into my hoopskirts and flounder through the snow to go do a program at a senior residence. With a PowerPoint. Yeah, I know. Nevermind.

I'm going to miss these guys when you put 'em away, Mom - they like me, they really like me !! Uhm...Lilliane? It's not really YOU they're adoring. Sorry. But I'm proud of you for not carrying any of them off like last year. Good girl. (Oy)

It is my most earnest wish that the New Year brings you all strength, delight, laughter, optimism and joy - and that, in these times of tightened belts you look around and see a great abundance of the things that are truly valuable. Those riches which fill our hearts are what make us prosperous and rich, and I wish you that without limit.


teabird said...

Thank you for your New Year's wish - all the same for you, of course!
I am so jealous of your hand lotion. Alas, I can't tolerate scented lotions, and the scent-less Lubriderm just doesn't do the trick.
Honka. Love it!

Jane said...

Looks like you had a wonderful holiday season. A very Happy New Year to you, too. May this year bring you nothing but the best.

MollyBeees said...

What a wonderful post. I love the Nativity folks worshiping the we all should (at least in their eyes. My most heartfelt wishes to you and Mr. Dearling for a healthy, happy, joy-filled New Year!

kmkat said...

Thank you for sharing your holidays with us. Family is so, so precious, and you are truly blessed by yours (as they are with you).

CTjen said...

Happy New Year to you and yours, DH! It looks like a positively wonderful celebration! :-)

Alwen said...

"a great abundance of the things that are truly valuable"

I am so stealing, er, plagiarizing, er, borrowing this for a blog post!

LD said...

Actually, Mom, it's Houndstooth, not Herringbone :)

Lisa said...

I've just made my first hop into your blog (via Albert and Elvis) and must tell you how completely WONDERFUL it is. I'll be hopping back frequently to bring myself up to speed.
Your New Year wish is the most beautifully expressed and devoutly to be wished I think I've ever seen.
May 2009 bring you everything you have wished for others.