Other things are demanding my time...such as *despidering* the blog facilities... which is probably a good thing. Happy New Year to everyone! Those of you getting to 2010 before I do, please send winning lotto numbers (sans spiders)!
I made it from the middle of downtown Chicago to my front door in 25 minutes this morning... :) A 20+ mile trip that usually takes anywhere from 40-120 minutes when done by car. This is an event that so rarely happens... when it does... you can't help, but smile.
A day or two before Christmas, the Youngest Lamblet, still a firm believer in Santa, was bemoaning the fact that somehow her Christmas list never made it to the North Pole. It had been revised so many times that it got lost in the photos and to-do lists that are usually engulfing the fridge. She was worried she wouldn't get what she wanted.
I told her not to worry, that Santa had the down low on the Lamblets. One thing I knew for sure was that even if you didn't get what you had on your list, you got something even better, you got something you didn't even know you wanted, but that made other things pale in comparison. That had been my experience as a child... yes, getting what you wanted was great, but it was those gifts that had "me" written all over them, that somehow ended up under the tree, that were even better. The Youngest Lamblet was not disappointed. There were a few things she had asked for, but there were a few surprises that were really "her".
A few people have asked me if I got what I wanted for Christmas... yes, I got some wonderful things, but I think the "gifts" that will stick with me were more of a revelatory kind... people telling me things I had no idea about... people you have spent large chunks of your life with, letting you know what you did affected them, and often for the better. I was totally unaware about some of them. No, I didn't think I had done them harm, but I guess I just didn't realize they were using me as an example.
I'm very good at picking up on what people are thinking about others, but am often clueless when it comes to what people are thinking about me, if they're thinking at all. I come from the school of, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, so if no one says anything, I'll assume, maybe not the worst, but probably the mostblase.
This is why it was so unexpected to hear the reverse... to hear that someone I admire was watching, taking notes, using my experiences as a bar of sorts. I honestly had no idea. It was a surprise... a very nice surprise, and probably one of the best things I got this Christmas... something I didn't really realize I wanted, but something that was greatly appreciated after it arrived.
On most days, I feel like I have so much yet to achieve and that my success in any number of areas (could be anything from achieving self-actualization to just finishing the damn laundry) is lagging, but if I am somehow being a good influence, I'm relieved. It's nice to know that in my sometimes blindered approach to life, I have done no harm, at least where this person was concerned, and I was grateful. Yes, this was a good gift... one I'm still not so sure has "me" written all over it, but one I'll accept and say thank you.
I woke up on the edge of a dream this morning, as one usually does. In the dream I recall trying to pay a ComEd bill on my cell phone, but was having trouble trying to find the supposed slot where I was to put the envelope... I was going to have to find a deposit machine. I wasn't sure if these existed, but I was off... on a bent tandem... trying desperately to pedal in the direction of the big electrical transmission towers.
I made it, found an ATM-eqsue machine, but had to watch an advertisement before I could finish my transaction. It appeared that my electricity was being brought to me courtesy of Pepsi... and they were introducing their new product... Deep Sea Pepsi. It had a swordfish on the label.
The man in the ad was in the middle of the ocean on a commercial fishing boat and was explaining the wonders of Deep Sea Pepsi. I woke up before I heard or understood what they were...
While most of my Christmas memories are happy ones, there are always a few that go into the bad column. There are those that are just bad and not to be remembered, and then there are those that are bad, but priceless... those that still bring an evil smile to my face and make me snort with illicit laughter... Brando's post reminded me... not all good holiday memories are good... or not all bad holiday memories are bad... or something like that.
One that my sister and I have to retell every year (out of earshot of my mother) is the tale of the Family Feud... You see, my mother loves to play games and we usually go along with it, most of us enjoying a game at some point. However, this particular time was not one of them. The majority of my family was seated around the post-dinner table, enjoying copious cocktails and chatter, when Mom decided it was game time. Grumbles abounded, but it was obvious that my mother, not one to wrangle with, was not going to take no for an answer. We all obliged and smiled as Family Feud was plunked down on the table.
It was an omen. A foreshadowing of things to come...
I don't know if it was the fact that some drank more than others, or the fact that my father has an unquenchable competitive streak, or the fact that some of us didn't drink enough, but at some point (and this is where it the takes on the story vary), one brother was accused of NOT. FOLLOWING. THE. RULES!
The validity of who actually won was called into question thus setting my father into a tailspin along with the accused brother. My mother's face was becoming increasingly somber and pouty... I think it was at this point that a sister and I, being the few legally sober ones in the room, inadvertently fanned the flames by laughing at the fact that we were indeed playing Family Feud...
I don't remember how it ended exactly other than one brother grabbed his family and stomped out of the house... my mother was bemoaning the fact that she just wanted to play a game!!! Why could she not get what she wanted just this once!! My father was still trying to claim his victory... and a few others of us were just ducking for cover in safe areas of the house.
It was many hours later, in the quiet of the Christmas tree-lit house, that my sister, cohort in fanning of the flames, spied my mother chucking the Family Feud game into the fireplace. She ran off before her laughter gave her away, knowing Mom would not appreciate the beauty of the irony.
To this day we still laugh...
To this day, we still know better than to bring it up around certain family members...
To this day we curse the fact that a new Family Feud game was purchased and we firmly push for a rousing round of Trivial Pursuit, Oh Hell! or Taboo...
To this day, I still love my family, idiosyncrasies and all.
I've been working on cookies for the past day or so... my painted cookies. They take awhile. It dawned on me yesterday that this is the 25th year I've made them. What started as a lark in college... a new surface to try to paint on, a new way to impress a particular boy, has stuck with me through my life.
There were many years when I used them to supplement my income. During these years, I'd literally crank out hundreds. It became an assembly line of production, even the painting part... paint the rough on all cookies, paint the sky, do the shadows, paint the red, paint the green... etc, etc, etc, until I got to the very end and put the "dimensional snow" on the ones that called for it. One job I had during my younger years was hand-coloring engravings... this was good prep for the cookies. I came to hate the process of hand-coloring engravings... there were also times I hated these cookies, and yet I had to make them. I was always too happy once the snow dots went on and I saw penguins and snowmen smiling back at me.
After the lamblets appeared, I stopped cranking out mass quantities, but would do a few dozen for special things. When the lamblets were old enough, this included making enough to send to school with them. At times I would cringe, but would then hear wails of "But Mommmmmmmm!!! You're the only person who can do this! NO ONE ELSE CAN! Pleeeeeeze!" And I'd make them...
When they were very young, I was perfect in their eyes. I could do anything, know anything, be anything. As they mature, the cracks in my superhero suit have appeared with increasing speed. One day, no doubt, the entire suit will crumble and fall to the floor, revealing the mere human who's been there all along. It's right, it's the way it should be... but I'm not ready to give it all up yet... as far as they believe, no other human or machine can make my cookies... and so I make them again...
As the holiday activities increase, blogging will most likely slow down or stop altogether. Here's wishing everyone a wonderful whatever it is they celebrate... life is good.