Morning Fog

Virtual White Christmas

If you are reading me via a feed, you NEED to click through and see the snow falling on my blog. That is a very big deal, my friends. It was 71 degrees and sunny here today, so a little of the white stuff, even if it is only pretend, makes it feel like Christmas.

You have no idea, unless you grew up in the sun/warm belt like me, how deprived you feel as a child when you keep hearing about White Christmases and see pictures of snow and snowmen and snowflakes and mittens and scarves and all that jazz. Oh sure, we get some cold weather, but come on.

One of the biggest thrills of my life was when we got snow on Christmas Eve one year when we lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. That was miraculous.


Enough about the weather. Weather is weather, right? Cold in winter, hot in summer. Lots of variation and anomalies and constant change, but basically, just background noise most of the time.

Okay…Now the important things: first of all Merry Christmas! to all and to all a good night. Mine was very nice and not so nice for different reasons.

In the naughty category:

1. The fact that I worked until Friday really cramped my style. I know I could get better organized and do more of this stuff earlier, but there is that whole “old dog new tricks” thing to take into consideration.

2. Corollary to above: I never sent even one Christmas card out. I used to send a lot of them. Cute pictures of the kids, the whole shebang. Sigh.

3. All the Christmas gifts that my assistant and I ordered in September, wrapped and boxed and have had sitting in the corner of my room? Still sitting there. I totally forgot to give them to the kids on the last day. Double sigh.

4. Good excuse for above, but still sucks: my daughter’s car accident Thursday night preoccupied my mind and kept me up all night so it is logical and understandable that I forgot to give out the gifts. But I would rather have had no accident to use as an excuse, you know? Cause it is 50-50 I would have forgotten them anyway.

5. My daughter is out of state and wasn’t with us. First time I was without one of my kids on Christmas. Double suck.

6. My mother-in-law has been here way too long.

7. My father-in-law wasn’t here…first Christmas since his death.

8. I didn’t get to see my parents. I am putting this in the bad category, but seriously, it is a double edged sword. Great to be with them, hell to be with them. Capice?

9. I never heard a peep out of youngest child, all day…too busy with his gifts. Whoops, this should go in the good column. /giggle

10. Cooking. Cooking. Cooking. Cleaning. Cleaning. Complaining. Complaining.

In the nice category:

1. I don’t have to go back to school until January 7th. Yeehaw.

2. My daughter is going to be fine.

3. I got a nice bonus from school, and lots of nice things from the parents/kids in my class. Especially the big gift that the parents got together on…an obscene amount of money to use at a ritzy spa. Hello. How did they know that I needed relaxation and pampering? How did they know their kids were running me ragged? I have to say, it is nice to feel appreciated. That is one of the perks of this job. If the parents like you, they make you feel like some kind of Goddess for being able to do your job. Of course, it can totally go the the other way with parents too, so really parents are the wildcard, aren’t they?

4. The tree, the tree. We do have the most beautiful tree ever this year. Ever. Of course, I decorated it piecemeal over the course of three weekends, but what the hell. A living room full of rubbermaid tubs and tissue paper is a small price to pay for a work of art like this. Right?

5. My oldest was here all weekend and Monday and Today. It was like he came home for Christmas, which of course would have been overkill since he lives 10 minutes away. But seeing him every day was great, and almost made up for the absence of the middle child.

6. My youngest is a total gift giving genius. This child is amazing the way he zeroes in on people’s personalities and tastes and picks an appropriate gift. I think he is doing all my shopping for me next year. And wrapping? He is a speedy and efficient wrapper. We are working on finesse…but between my style and his speed, we might be on to something here. Have I mentioned how much I adore this child?

7. Speaking of him….watching him serve midnight mass (which was actually at 10 pm, don’t ask) really choked me up. I have really super-vivid memories of having to hold him on my lap, arms around him like a straight-jacket, to get him to sit still in church. So seeing him sitting up there, carrying the cross out, doing altar boy stuff, really makes me beam a little. Ok, a lot.

8. Speaking of midnight mass (at 10 pm) that was the highlight of my holiday this year. First, we got there really early since my smallest wonder was serving mass. So we sat through 15 minutes or so of a Christmas concert that was going on between the 8 and 10 pm masses. It was magnificent, truly. You would be hard pressed to come up with a more professional and majestic church choir performance. Towards the end, our pastor sang a song. In French. He is French, and I have heard him sing during mass of course, and I think parts of Christmas Carols in French in the past. He has a beautiful, deep, expressive, voice and the song he sang was stupendous. I could have listened to him all night.
I tell you, there is something magical about sitting in a dark church on Christmas Eve, with all the candles and the people all dressed up and singing…and knowing that all those people are there for the same reason you are. That all the extraneous trappings of the holiday fall away, and we all just gather together and celebrate and REMEMBER why we have Christmas after all. I can’t tell you what a good feeling that was. It also made me realize that, despite all the other things I could have been doing between 9:30 and 11:30 that night…nothing was more important, and apparently a church full of people agreed with me. And so I sat there…with my husband at my side. With my mother-in-law and my oldest son nearby. With my youngest son serving mass at the altar. With the French priests who sound so melodious and enchanting. With the amazing choir and beautiful Christmas music. The church was full, in so many ways, and there was something comforting, almost womblike, about sitting there that night.

9. Saw my brother on Sunday. Mr. Entertainment. In town for the day. We went to Little Italy after lunch and yes, that helped make my Christmas. It also helped make my most yummy Lasagna.

10. I had a little meltdown on Saturday. But Mr. Wonderful held me and sympathized with me and reminded me that it isn’t things that are important at Christmas, it is relationships. And you know, that helped, even if it wasn’t rocket science. Because Christmas still came and it was still good. Those of us who were together had a great time, and we got to talk to those who weren’t. And just knowing that my husband, my partner, wasn’t putting unrealistic expectations on me was helpful. To be quite honest, as long as he gets laid, he’s good. Well, you know, he likes the food to be hot and tasty, the wine full bodied and not too sweet or dry, and dessert to show up when he has a craving. So I guess it is really food and sex. The rest is gravy.

I think there are more than 10, but that’ll do. For now.
I am off to sleep till noon tomorrow. That was an order from my MIL, so I guess I must sleep till noon. Like I actually listen to her….

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Out of the mouths

Dear cheap house builders from the 1970’s,

I know that we live in Southern California. I also know that since it never rains here, it obviously never gets cold here either. Having said that, I still think that perhaps you could have used glass that is thicker than toilet paper for the windows, and maybe put in a skylight that actually seals in the bathroom.

I know that lows in the high 30’s and low 40’s aren’t all that cold. I have lived in places where they describe the temperature in terms of “wind chill” so I realize it could be worse…however, 38 degrees is 38 degress whether you are in California or Michigan, and taking a shower in a walk-in refrigerator is NOT my idea of fun. Especially tonight, when I took a shower while my youngest was finishing up. We measure his showers in terms of hours, not minutes and my nice hot shower was lukewarm at best and the room was colder. We have heat in there…good old forced air heat that evaporates out the skylight as soon as it hits the room HENCE my outrage. It’s been building for awhile.

“Wah,” to quote one of my students.
I can’t wait for school to be out ON FRIDAY giving me a whopping 2 days before Christmas Eve. And trust me, when you are a teacher…a member of this soul-and-time-sucking profession…you don’t get much time to shop until you are done. At least in my household where there is a young child still at home and a dog and a husband and a visiting mother-in-law and two older kids who somehow STILL seem to be able to come up with ways to abscond with my time. Not that I’m complaining. Much. Wah. Just wah. I really want to finish up school on Friday, sleep for a week, then do all my Christmas shopping, wrapping, card writing, and food shopping. And some baking and cooking. And more decorating.
Can we reschedule Christmas for, um, February? Ya think?

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